The Goa government on Tuesday challenged in the Bombay High Court the acquittal of journalist Tarun Tejpal in a sexual assault case, Bar and Bench reported.

The state’s Advocate General Devidas Pangam told PTI that the Goa bench of the Bombay High Court was yet to assign a date for the hearing of the appeal.

Tejpal, the former editor-in-chief of Tehelka magazine, was accused of raping a junior colleague in an elevator in 2013. A session’s court in Goa acquitted Tejpal in the case on May 21.

Opposing the court’s order, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant had said that he will not tolerate any injustice meted out to women in the state.

The verdict and trial in the case

In September 2017, a trial court in Goa had charged Tejpal with rape, sexual harassment and wrongful restraint. He had pleaded not guilty. However, in an internal email, Tejpal had blamed the incident on a “lapse of judgement”.

The Goa Police had filed a chargesheet in the case in 2014. He was charged under sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 342 (wrongful confinement), 354 (assault or criminal force with intent to outrage modesty), 354-A (sexual harassment), 354-B (assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe), 376(2)(f) (person in position of authority over women, committing rape) and 376(2) (k) (rape by person in position of control) of the Indian Penal Code.

The trial began in September 2017 but was delayed repeatedly as Tejpal moved the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court against the allegations. Both the Supreme Court and the High Court had dismissed his petitions seeking to quash the rape charges against him.

The High Court’s verdict was expected earlier but deferred multiple times. Last Wednesday, when the ruling was deferred to Friday, Tejpal’s lawyer Suhas Velip had said that that it was because the additional sessions court judge at Mapusa could not work as there was no electricity for the last 2-3 days. The court had earlier deferred the verdict on May 12, citing the lack of staff because of the coronavirus pandemic. Before that, the ruling was deferred on April 27.