“Appears To Provide A Manual On How Rape Victims Should Behave”: Bombay HC On Tarun Tejpal Verdict

The Goa Government’s appeal also said that the finding of the trial court on how a woman normally behaves is “unsustainable in law and is colored by prejudice and patriarchy”,

The Goa bench of the Bombay High Court on Wednesday called the Tarun Tejpal verdict a “manual on how rape victims should behave” and served a notice to Tejpal on the state’s plea against his acquittal in a rape case.

A single bench judge of Justice SC Gupte was hearing Solicitor General Tushar Mehta’s appeal challenging the May 21 judgment. It issued the notice, returnable on June 24, and called for all papers and proceedings from the Sessions Court, till then.

Mr. Mehta read out from the 527-page judgment, “The victim’s narrative is of extreme implausibility, and it is not possible to believe that she, a woman who is aware of laws, intelligent, alert and physically fit [yoga trainer], would not push or ward off the accused if she got pushed against the wall. If the prosecutrix [victim] had held her jaw firmly closed, how would it be possible for the accused [Mr. Tejpal] to put his tongue into her mouth? If the prosecutrix pushed the accused instinctively and reflexively, why wouldn’t she push the accused before he kissed her?” reported The Hindu

“The law has evolved. The entire judgment proceeds as if the victim is on trial.”


Justice Gupte, in a sarcastic tone, added that the judgment “appears to provide a manual on how rape victims should behave.”

In her 527-page judgment, Special Judge Kshama Joshi, while acquitting Tejpal extensively commented on the woman’s ‘non-rape victim-like behavior’ and faulty investigation to grant Tejpal the benefit of the doubt. The former editor was accused of forcing himself on his junior colleague against her wishes, inside an elevator of the Grand Hyatt, Bambolim, Goa on November 7 and 8, 2013

The Goa government also requested certain portions of the judgment be removed that are in violation of the Evidence Act. “Much of the impugned judgment has been consumed by sexual gossip and alleged sexual fantasies related to the prosecutrix which are legally prohibited,” the appeal said.

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It also said that the finding of the trial court on how a woman normally behaves is “unsustainable in law and is colored by prejudice and patriarchy”,

The survivor in her statement to police and to the court had said that while she was traumatized and shocked after the incident, due to professional commitments she had continued working at the event, the appeal further said.

On the trial court refusing to accept the apology e-mail sent by Tarun Tejpal to the survivor, the government said the court has not given any cogent finding as to how a person of the education, age and maturity of the accused, who was in a position of power over the survivor, could in any manner be pressured into apologizing.

“The trial court has completely ignored the most telling piece of evidence in the case (the apology e-mail) which established the guilt of the accused beyond a shadow of a doubt,” the appeal said.



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