Supreme Court judge Justice UU Lalit on Monday recused himself from hearing a plea filed by former editor of Tehelka magazine Tarun Tejpal in a 2013 rape case, reported Live Law. Tejpal has challenged a Bombay High Court order that rejected his petition to hold in-camera proceedings during the hearing of the plea against his acquittal in the rape case.

Lalit recused himself from hearing the case as he had represented Tejpal before the Supreme Court in the past. He is the second judge who has recused from the case.

On January 21, Justice L Nageswara Rao had recused himself from hearing the journalist’s petition. Rao said that he had appeared for the Goa government, which is prosecuting and investigating the case against Tejpal.

Tejpal was accused of raping a junior colleague in an elevator in 2013. A sessions court acquitted him in the case on May 21. On May 25, the Goa government moved the Bombay High Court against the verdict.

Tejpal had then moved the High Court seeking an in-camera hearing of the petition against his acquittal. Senior Advocate Amit Desai, appearing for Tejpal, had made the the request citing sensitivity of the allegations against his client.

However, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Goa government, had opposed the request.

“The country has a right to know what happened with the girl, who came with a complaint, precise facts, corroborative evidence,” Mehta had said.

The High Court had held that Section 327(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code (on in-camera proceedings) was only applicable to an “inquiry” or “trial”, but not to appeals against conviction or an pleas against an acquittal.

In its order on May 21 acquitting Tejpal, the district and sessions court of Mapusa in Goa had claimed that the complainant had not shown the “kind of normative behaviour” expected from her, among other things.

In her 527-page judgement, Additional Sessions Judge Kshama Joshi had noted that Tejpal was granted “benefit of doubt” in the absence of corroborative evidence to support the allegations made by the complainant.

In its appeal, the Goa government had said that the trial court’s judgement was “coloured by prejudice and patriarchy”.