Tejpal rape case: No in-camera proceedings, says HC

Tarun Tejpal rape case: No in-camera proceedings, says Bombay HC

Former journalist Tarun Tejpal. Credit: AFP File Photo

The Bombay High Court bench in Goa on Wednesday turned down a plea filed by former Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal, who had sought in-camera proceedings of a rape case appeal filed against him by the Goa government.

Tejpal, who was accused of rape by a junior colleague in 2013, was acquitted by a trial court earlier this year, following which an appeal was filed by the state government.

Hearing Tejpal's plea for in-camera proceedings of the case Justices Revati Dere and MS Jawalkar said: “For reasons that we will be recording separately in writing, the application is rejected".

In his plea, Tejpal's lawyer, senior counsel Amit Desai had said that the court proceedings should be held in-camera, citing section 327 (ii) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which mandates that an enquiry and trial in a rape case filed under sections 376, 376A, 376B, 376C or 376D of the Indian Penal Code shall be conducted in-camera.

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“Because 327 is intended to protect the reputation of the complainant and the accused. Reputation is a fundamental right and no longer (just) a statutory obligation,” Desai said.

In response, Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta, who holds brief for the Goa government in the appeal case claimed that Tejpal could plead for an in-camera trial because the appeal filed before the High Court was neither an enquiry nor a trial.

“The appeal is neither an inquiry nor a trial. After the judgement is passed, the trial ends. Article 327 is limited to an inquiry and a trial,” Mehta said.

Tejpal has sought time from the Court to appeal against its order, even as the High Court has scheduled the case for hearing on December 6.

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