Updated: September 18, 2021 9:46:35 am
The Chief Justice of Bombay High Court has allowed Goa government’s appeal against the acquittal of former editor-in-chief of Tehelka Tarun Tejpal in a 2013 sexual assault case to be heard in the virtual mode. The appeal is expected to be heard by the High Court of Bombay at Goa on September 20.
This will also mean that Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who represented the Goa government in the appeal proceedings before the High Court in the virtual mode, can continue to argue the matter before the High Court. He had earlier expressed difficulty in physically appearing before the High Court in Goa after the court resumed physical hearings last month.
Similarly, Tejpal, earlier represented by senior counsel Kapil Sibal and later by senior counsel Amit Desai, can also have his counsel argue the matter before the court in Goa remotely through the virtual mode.
The Goa government’s application before the Chief Justice, filed earlier this month through Additional Public Prosecutor Pravin Faldesai, stated: “The Applicant, the state of Goa, is represented…right from inception, when the matter was being heard via video conferencing, by the Ld Solicitor General of India, Shri Tushar Mehta, who is positioned in Delhi. However, in Goa now the matters are exclusively heard physically in court. The ongoing pandemic and the restrictions on inter-state travel due to Covid-19 pandemic makes it difficult for the Ld Solicitor General of India to physically appear in the present matter.”
In a letter to the Registrar (Judicial) of the High Court of Bombay at Goa, D S Deshmukh, the Registrar (Judicial-I) of the Bombay High Court, Appellate Side, wrote on September 9 that the Chief Justice “has been pleased to direct” the hearing of the criminal appeal and the criminal miscellaneous application filed in the case to be heard in the virtual mode.
“The case is very important for the state of Goa and also the public at large and has wider ramifications on law and conduct of rape cases,” the Goa government stated in its application, seeking a virtual hearing in the case.
Tejpal was accused of sexually assaulting a then colleague in an elevator of a hotel in Goa on November 7, 2013 and November 8, 2013. On May 21, Additional Sessions Judge Kshama Joshi acquitted him of all charges.
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