The Supreme Court has granted additional time to a Goa Court for completion of the trial in the alleged rape case against Tarun Tejpal, former editor-in-chief of Tehelka Magazine.
A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy & MR Shah granted time until March 31, 2021 to complete the trial in an application seeking extension of time to do so.
The application had been filed by State of Goa. On August 19, 2019, the top court, while dismissing a petition filed by Tejpal for quashing the charges of rape framed against him, had directed that the trial be completed by December 31, 2020.
Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal appeared for the former editor of Tehelka magazine and urged the Court to not extend the time further, adding that the December 31, 2020 deadline was already an "extended" one.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed the Court that the extension was necessary as the trial could not be completed by December 31.
Last year, a bench of Justices Arun Mishra, M R Shah and B R Gavai refused to interfere with the judgment of the the Goa bench of Bombay High Court that had upheld the September 2017 order of Sessions judge at Mapusa, Goa, framing charges against him for rape.
According to the FIR, a journalist colleague of Tejpal was raped by him on November 7, 2013, inside an elevator in a Hotel Grand Hyatt, Goa, during Tehelka magazine's THiNK 2013 festival in Goa.
Terming the offence "morally abhorrent" and an "assault on the privacy of the victim", the bench directed the Sessions Court to complete trial within six months.
RaThe trial court had framed charges against Tejpal under sections 354 (assaulting or using criminal force on a woman with an intent to outrage her modesty), 354-A (outraging modesty), 341 (wrongful restraint), 342 (wrong confinement), 376 (rape), 376(2) (f) (person in position of trust or authority over women, committing rape of such women) and 376(2) (k) (rape of a woman by a person being in position of control or dominance over the woman).
"The high court failed to appreciate the manner in which the charges were directed to be framed against the Petitioner by the trial court by totally disregarding the primary evidence in the form of CCTV footage, which totally demolishes the case of the Prosecution, while relying on material that is not even a document within the meaning of Section 3 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872." stated the petition filed by Tejpal.