October 28, 2021 5:58:00 am
THE HIGH Court of Bombay at Goa said on Wednesday that it expected lawyers to “maintain decorum while reading the evidence” in the 2013 case of rape and sexual assault, in which former Tehelka editor Tarun Tejpal was acquitted by a trial court on May 21 this year. The court said instead of reading out the evidence, the lawyers could just “point out the paragraph number”.
“I’m sure all parties will maintain decorum while reading the evidence. You can just point out the paragraph number, we will read it for ourselves,” Justice Revati Mohite Dere said. “Not only in this case, in all cases pertaining to rape we do not want the lawyers to read the evidence (aloud) in open court,” she said.
Opposing Tejpal’s plea seeking in-camera proceedings, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, arguing for the Goa government, said the trial court’s order to acquit him was “retrograde and regressive” and “fit for the fifth century”. “The victim was virtually on trial” and she was “named and shamed,” he said.
A division bench of Justice Dere and Justice M S Jawalkar said it would not consider the application for in-camera hearing at this stage.
Tejpal’s counsel, Amit Desai, told the court that he first wanted to argue on the maintainability of the Goa government’s application seeking to appeal against the trial court’s May 21 decision to acquit Tejpal. Desai said that on the day the appeal was filed, the additional public prosecutor did not have permission to file it.
“Is that the only hurdle?” Justice Dere asked.
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