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The Goa government has further amended its appeal against the acquittal of former editor-in-chief of Tehelka Tarun Tejpal and filed it in the High Court of Bombay at Goa.

The government had urged the court to expunge portions of the evidence that do not adhere to sections of the Indian Evidence Act that bars the defence from referring to any past sexual conduct of the victim in a case of sexual assault. It contended that the Sessions Court had “scandalously and voyeuristically” recorded details of the victim’s sexual history in its 527-page judgment.

On June 24, the High Court had granted the Goa government time to make further amendments to its appeal against the order of a Sessions Court acquitting Tejpal in a case of rape and sexual harassment.

Tejpal was accused of sexually assaulting his 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.

Goa Advocate General Devidas Pangam and Additional Public Prosecutor Pravin Faldessai had told the court on June 24 that they would provide a copy of the further amended appeal to the respondent’s (Tejpal) advocate in a week. The court is expected to hear the case further on July 29.

The state government, urging the court to set aside the trial court’s judgment acquitting Tejpal, stated that the trial court had “lost sight of the fact that it was the Respondent Accused who was on trial and not PW1 (the woman)…”

“…the Trial Court in its 527-page-judgment has been influenced by extraneous inadmissible materials and testimonies, graphic details of the past sexual history of the victim, prohibited by law and has used the same for purposes of censuring her character, and discrediting her evidence. The entire judgment focusses on indicting the complainant witness rather than trying to ascertain the culpable role of the Respondent Accused,” the state government’s appeal, amended on July 1, stated.

The state government contended that the four defence witnesses that included Tejpal’s family and friends had given the court “irrelevant, inadmissible evidence of the past sexual history of the prosecutrix (the woman)” which she had called “false and disgusting”. She had said that these were figments of Tejpal’s “perverse imagination” and appeared to be from his book on erotic fiction.

The Goa government, stated, “…clear and cogent denial by the prosecutrix has not been taken into account by the Trial Court and the graphic details of a supposed sexual encounter have been scandalously and voyeuristically reproduced in detail in the judgment itself.”

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