Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Goa in the appeal in the Bombay High Court today said that the judgment and some of its observations are “astonishing” and they revealed not only the victim’s identity but also the names of her mother and husband
A trial court in Goa gave the benefit of the doubt to journalist and former editor in chief of Tehelka magazine Tarun Tejpal while acquitting him in a sexual assault case and observed that the victim “did not demonstrate any kind of normative behavior” that a victim of sexual assault “might plausibly show”
Of 527 pages on acquittal of Tarun Tejpal, #Goa judge Kshama M Joshi has used around 400 pages, dissecting testimony of the complainant in arriving at how an 'educated journalist' should've known whether she 'pulled up' her underwear or 'picked up'. pic.twitter.com/4hZGi854aU
— Utkarsh Anand (@utkarsh_aanand) May 26, 2021
In the 500-page order copy made available on Tuesday, the court has observed that the Investigating Officer or IO (Crime Branch officer Sunita Sawant) did not conduct an investigation on vital points of the eight-year-old case.
Judge Kshama Joshi, in her detailed written order, has said that upon considering the evidence on record, the benefit of the doubt is given to the accused because there is no corroborative evidence supporting the allegations made by the complainant.
“It is extremely revealing that the prosecutrix’s (victim) account neither demonstrates any kind of normative behavior on her own part – that a prosecutrix of sexual assault on consecutive two nights might plausibly show nor does it show any such behavior on the part of the accused.” the order said.
The trial court observed that it was “unnatural” on the part of the woman to message Tejpal about her location in the hotel where she was chaperoning a prominent US actor.
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Rejecting the claim that the woman was traumatized, the court has said some of the WhatsApp messages of the woman show she was not traumatized and had plans to stay in Goa after the official event (organized by the magazine) where the alleged crime was committed.
Parts of the order have drawn heavy criticism on social media. The order also goes as far as to reveal the victim and her family’s personal details. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Goa in the appeal in the Bombay High Court today said that the judgment and some of its observations are “astonishing” and they revealed not only the victim’s identity but also the names of her mother and husband. In fact, her email has also been mentioned in the judgment, he told the bench.
Mehta also highlighted several observations in the order where the victim’s behavior was described in explicit detail.
The vacation bench of the Bombay High Court has directed the Goa Sessions Court to redact all direct references made to the victim and her identity and posted the matter for June 2.
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