In a major setback for journalist Tarun Tejpal, the Supreme Court on Monday said that the sexual assault trial against him will continue. Dismissing his plea, the top court said that the charges are ‘serious’ and an assault on victim’s privacy. The Tehelka magazine founder had pleaded the apex court to quash the charges framed against him in an alleged sexual assault case lodged by a former woman colleague.
A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra also asked Goa's lower court to complete the trial preferably within six months in the case against Tejpal. Tejpal is alleged to have sexually assaulted a former woman colleague inside the elevator of a five-star hotel in Goa in 2013. He has denied the allegations levelled against him.
Tejpal was arrested on November 30, 2013 by the crime branch after his anticipatory bail plea was rejected by the court. He has been out on bail since May 2014.
The Goa Police had booked Tejpal in multiple charges under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections including 354-A (sexual harrassment and punishment for sexual harassment), 376 (rape), 376(2)(k) (rape of a woman by a person being in position of control or dominance over the woman), 341 and 342 (punishment for wrongful restraint), 376 (2) (f) (person in position of trust or authority over women, committing rape of such women) and 376C IPC (sexual intercourse by person in authority) and Section 354 IPC.
Earlier, former Union Minister MJ Akbar and Tejpal were suspended from the Editors’ Guild of India over until the sexual misconduct cases against them conclude. The move came weeks after the Guild put out an updated list of its members, which included the names of Akbar, Tejpal and senior journalist Gautam Adhikari, evoking calls from within the media body for their removal. The Guild had sought the views of its Executive Committee (EC) on what action should be taken against Akbar, a dormant member at present and one of its past presidents, Tejpal and Adhikari over sexual misconduct allegations levelled against them, a statement said.
(With agency inputs)