The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed journalist Tarun Tejpal’s plea seeking in-camera proceedings in the Bombay High Court on an appeal challenging his acquittal in a 2013 rape case, reported PTI.
A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha was hearing the plea after the Bombay High Court had rejected Tejpal’s application.
The journalist was accused of sexually assaulting his colleague in Goa in November 2013. After an in-camera trial, Additional Sessions Judge Kshama Joshi had acquitted him of all charges on May 21, 2021. The acquittal has been challenged by the Goa government.
Tejpal had sought an in-camera hearing citing Section 327 of the Code of Criminal Procedure as well as an order of Justice Gautam Patel of the Bombay High Court, Bar and Bench reported.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court said that objective of the Section 327 was to protect a complainant’s rights, The Indian Express reported.
“The idea is to protect the victim so that she can depose fearlessly,” Chandrachud said. “When somebody who is an accused…will they have the remedy when the victim does not demand [in-camera hearing]?”
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Tejpal, then urged the bench to direct the High Court to conduct the trial physically and not virtually. However, the bench said that it is up to the High Court to decide.