High Court of Bombay at Goa today gave its nod for framing of charges against Tarun Tejpal, former editor-in-chief of Tehelka, in connection with alleged rape charges. The court, however, directed to put a hold on the trial till further orders, according to ANI report. Earlier this month, A Mapusa sessions in Goa court had directed framing of all rape charges against Tejpal, according to Indian Express report. On September 28, Tejpal stands to be slapped with nine charges, of which five are of rape including sections introduced following amendments to the IPC. Tejpal is accused of sexually assaulting a female colleague inside a lift at Hotel Grand Hyatt on the night of November 7, 2013, according to reports.
In its 48-page order, the Mapusa sessions court had detailed previous judgments before arriving at the decision that Tejpal needs to go on trial for all charges.
It has been learned that initially, Tejpal was booked under 354-A (sexual harassment and punishment for sexual harassment), 376 (rape), 376(2)(k) IPC (rape of a woman by a person being in a position of control or dominance over the woman) by the Crime Branch. Sections 341 and 342 (punishment for wrongful restraint), 376 (2)(f) (person in position of trust or authority over women, committing rape of such women), 376C (sexual intercourse by person in authority) and 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) were added later.
The hearings took place over three years, with the defence claiming material evidence. It was only in June that the prosecution asked for an additional IPC section of 354b.
When asked if they were satisfied with the order, Tavora said, “The court has considered all our arguments. It has made reference to whatever precedence it could rely on. We had to establish a prima facie case and this is more than a prima facie case.”
The Goa Crime Branch had chargesheeted Tejpal on February 17, 2014.