Advertisement
Sunday, Nov 28, 2021
Outlook.com
Outlook.com

‘Like A Manual For Rape Victims’: Bombay HC On Tarun Tejpal Case Verdict

'The judgement goes into how she (victim) responded. There are some observations on this. It is like a manual for rape victims,' Justice Gupte said.

‘Like A Manual For Rape Victims’: Bombay HC On Tarun Tejpal Case Verdict
On May 21, sessions Judge Kshama Joshi acquitted Tejpal, former editor-in-chief of the Tehelka magazine, in the case where he was accused of sexually assaulting his then colleague in a lift. | PTI
‘Like A Manual For Rape Victims’: Bombay HC On Tarun Tejpal Case Verdict
outlookindia.com
2021-06-02T14:43:59+05:30

In its reaction to the judgement passed by a sessions court acquitting journalist Tarun Tejpal of sexual assault charges, the Goa bench of the Bombay High Court on Wednesday observed that the sessions court's judgement was like a "manual for rape victims" as it goes into how a victim should respond in such cases.

Justice S C Gupte issued a notice to Tejpal and posted for June 24 the appeal filed by the Goa government against the sessions court's order acquitting him in the case.

"The judgement goes into how she (victim) responded. There are some observations on this. It is like a manual for rape victims," Justice Gupte said.

The HC said the judgement also does not include the prosecution's case.

The HC also directed the registry department to call for all papers and other documents related to the case from the sessions court.

It (judgement) directly goes into the gist of the case  and then the victim's evidence and statements of witnesses, Justice Gupte said.

"There is a prima facie case to consider the leave (permission) to appeal (against the acquittal). Issue notice to the respondent (Tejpal) returnable on June 24," the high court said.

The HC bench made the remarks when Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Goa government, read out portions from the sessions court's 527-page judgement which, while referring to the victim's behaviour (both during the alleged incident and afterwards), said the narrative was of "extreme implausibility".

"The judgement says the victim, who is an intelligent woman and physically strong as she is a yoga instructor, could have prevented the sexual assault on her," Mehta said.

On May 21, sessions Judge Kshama Joshi acquitted Tejpal, former editor-in-chief of the Tehelka magazine, in the case where he was accused of sexually assaulting his then colleague in a lift of a five-star hotel in Goa in November 2013 when they were attending an event.

The trial court had in its judgement questioned the woman's conduct, saying she did not exhibit any kind of "normative behaviour" such as trauma and shock which a victim of sexual assault might plausibly show.

Mehta on Wednesday pointed out to HC the observation made by the sessions court on how the victim met with eminent women lawyers like Indira Jaising and Rebecca John.

"What is wrong if the victim decided to get legal advice from women lawyers before approaching the court or police?" Mehta said.

The court then noted that the judgement, while referring to Jaising, says the victim had saved her mobile number in her phone under the name 'Brahmastra'.

Mehta said all this was irrelevant and hence, should be redacted.

"This will have a pan-India effect as everyone will read the judgement. In future, a victim of sexual assault may hesitate in taking legal advice. There is a portion in the judgement that these lawyers are feminists," he said, adding that even he is a feminist.

The HC said it would go into all these issues on the next date of hearing.

"The judgement is already uploaded and is in the public realm. As per our earlier order, all references to the victim's identity have been redacted from the judgement," Justice Gupte said.

Mehta further argued that the sessions court's judgement exhibits complete lack of sensitivity towards crimes against women and absolute lack of knowledge on this subject.

"We don't know if the victim was on trial or the accused. The entire judgement is as if the victim is on trial. Why should there be so much discussion on the victim's sexual history," he said.

The sessions court's judge has been a mute spectator when the accused's lawyers brazenly went on to shame the victim, Mehta argued.

(With PTI inputs.)

Advertisement

Outlook Newsletters

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Read More from Outlook

Omicron: New Strain Of Coronavirus Escalates Need For Global Vaccine Sharing

Omicron: New Strain Of Coronavirus Escalates Need For Global Vaccine Sharing

'Despite the repeated warnings of health leaders, our failure to put vaccines into the arms of people in the developing world is now coming back to haunt us', wrote former British PM Gordon Brown.

Covid-19: Experts' Take On Omicron And Possibility Of Third Wave In India

Covid-19: Experts' Take On Omicron And Possibility Of Third Wave In India

Though the health experts and scientists in India have advised caution yet they feel that the current immune profile of the majority of the population in India makes them less vulnerable to Omicron as compared to any other country in the world.

IND Vs NZ, First Test, Day 4, Live: Shreyas Iyer Leads India Fightback

IND Vs NZ, First Test, Day 4, Live: Shreyas Iyer Leads India Fightback

The first India vs New Zealand Test is delicately poised with both teams having an opportunity to force a decision. Follow here live cricket scores and updates of IND vs NZ on Day 4.

What Is Omicron: All You Need To Know About The New Coronavirus Strain

What Is Omicron: All You Need To Know About The New Coronavirus Strain

After the detrimental Delta variant which took the world by storm in the second wave of Covid-19, WHO recently declared ‘Omicron’ as the latest ‘variant of concern’ (VOC).

Advertisement