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Supreme Court dismisses Tarun Tejpal plea seeking quashing of sexual assault charges

Supreme Court dismisses Tarun Tejpal plea seeking quashing of sexual assault charges

Shruti Mahajan

The Supreme Court today dismissed the plea filed by former editor of Tehelka magazine Tarun Tejpal seeking to quash the charges of sexual assault levelled against him.

The verdict was rendered by a Bench of Justices Arun Mishra, MR Shah, and BR Gavai. Judgment was reserved on August 6.

Tarun Tejpal, who is an accused in a sexual harassment case, had moved the Supreme Court seeking quashing of charges against him. His junior colleague had accused him of sexually assaulting her in the elevator of a high-end hotel in Goa. Tejpal had claimed that the allegations made against him are false and fabricated and that the charges deserve to be quashed.

The case made by the complainant was attempted to be disproved by Tejpal’s counsel before the Supreme Court, Senior Advocate Vikas Singh. It was argued that the version of the complainant did not match the the CCTV footage of the hotel lobby. Singh argued that in the absence of any footage from inside the elevator, anyone could make all kinds of allegations.

The Court had asked Tejpal as to why he tendered an apology to the complainant if the allegations were false and the complaint was fabricated.

Something was there for which you tendered an apology. In case nothing has happened, then you need not have tendered an apology also,” the Court had said.

The State, through Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, had said that the charges cannot be quashed, given that the law provides for charges to be framed even if there exists a suspicion of the commission of an offence.

Tejpal, who is currently out on bail, was arrested in November 2013. A trial court in Goa had framed charges against him under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code including under Section 376(2), which deals with rape.

That same year, Tejpal had approached the Delhi High Court for anticipatory bail. However, he withdrew the plea to seek remedy before the Supreme Court.

[Read Judgment]