Panaji: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday refused to stay the framing of charges against Tarun Tejpal, in a case of alleged rape and issued a notice to the Goa government seeking its response to the senior journalist’s plea.
The district court in Mapusa had on September 7 refused to drop the charges against Tejpal, who has been accused of sexually assaulting a former colleague at an event in Goa in 2013.Tejpal, the founder-editor of Tehelka magazine, had moved the Goa bench of the Bombay High Court against the district court’s order.
Justice Prithviraj Chavan, while hearing his prayer on Tuesday, declined to stay the framing of charges by the trial court. Tejpal had sought a stay on framing of charges against him till the time the HC has decided his plea on dropping the charges.
Tejpal has contended there was a lack of evidence against him in the case.
Appearing for Tejpal, senior counsel Aman Lekhi and advocate Pramod Kumar contested the trial court’s order in August to frame charges against him.
They contended that the statement recorded under sections 161 and 164 CrPC is not substantive evidence and at best can be used for “contradiction”. They argued that it cannot be the sole basis for framing the charges.
Tejpal’s counsel claimed materials available on record were also not considered by the trial court.
In its Tuesday’s order, the high court said if the district court frames charges against Tejpal, the recording of evidence, which marks the beginning of the trial, should be deferred.
“In such circumstances, the matter is kept for final hearing after Diwali vacation. The trial court, if frames the charges, shall defer the examination of the first witness till the disposal of this criminal revision application,” the court said.
The court posted the matter for further hearing on November 1.
Tejpal, former editor-in-chief of Tehelka magazine, is facing charges under IPC sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 342 (wrongful confinement), 376 (rape) and 354-B (criminal assault with intent to disrobe a woman).