High Court to hold virtual hearing in Tarun Tejpal case on October 27

The hearing is to be held virtually as Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta, representing the Goa government, will participate in the court proceedings from Delhi.

The Goa Bench of the Bombay High Court on Monday said it will hear virtually on October 27 the Goa government’s appeal against journalist Tarun Tejpal’s acquittal in a 2013 rape case.

A bench of Justices M. S. Sonak and M. S. Jawalkar adjourned the matter till October 27 after Goa’s Advocate General Devidas Pangam and a lawyer representing Mr. Tejpal asked for a next date of hearing.

Justice Sonak said the court will set up the facility for virtual hearing into the matter by the next date.

The hearing into the matter would be held virtually as Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta, representing the Goa government, will participate in the court proceedings from Delhi.

Advocate General Pangam said the hearing on Monday was held to decide the next date (of hearing into the matter).

Earlier, the High Court had on August 31 adjourned the hearing on the Goa government’s appeal against Mr. Tejpal’s acquittal in the rape case till September 20, pending request before the Chief Justice for a hybrid (physical and virtual) hearing into the matter.

Before that, the matter was being heard online.

On August 31, the matter was taken up physically for the first time, in the wake of the Goa government relaxing several COVID-19 curbs.

Last month, Mr. Tejpal in a submission before the High Court, sought an ‘in-camera’ hearing of the Goa government’s petition challenging his acquittal in the case, and sought its dismissal while raising preliminary objections on its maintainability.

However, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had at that time opposed Mr. Tejpal’s request for the ‘in-camera’ hearing, saying the “country has the right to know how the institution dealt with the girl (victim)”.

On May 21 this year, a sessions court acquitted Mr. Tejpal, the former Editor-in-Chief of the Tehelka magazine, in the case where he was accused of sexually assaulting his then-colleague in a lift of a five-star hotel in Goa in November 2013 when they were attending an event.

Later, the Goa government filed an appeal against it in the High Court.

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