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HC admits Goa govt’s plea challenging Tarun Tejpal’s acquittal in rape case

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Panaji: The Bombay High Court at Goa on Saturday admitted the application filed by State government challenging acquittal of Tehelka’s Founder Editor Tarun Tejpal in connection with a rape case.

Goa Court had acquitted Tejpal last year of all the charges after which the State government had filed petition before the High Court challenging the order. Tejpal had challenged the maintainability of the application.

In an order on Saturday, division Bench comprising Justices R N Laddha and M S Sonak allowed the application filed by the State government. The Bench observed that “the Court is  not expected to go into the minute details of the prosecution evidence. At this stage, if the material on record discloses the necessity of deeper scrutiny and reappreciation, review, or reconsideration of evidence, the appellate Court must grant leave as sought for and decide the appeal on merits”.

The Judges said that they “not only reject the preliminary objections raised on behalf of the Respondent regarding the maintainability of this application but further allow the application and grant leave under Section 378(3) of Cr.P.C. because we are satisfied that a prima facie case has been made out and arguable points have been raised in the matter.”

The Bench observed “the decision of instituting an appeal against acquittal, in the present case, cannot be said to be a product of non-application of mind or the result of the State Government acting under the dictation of some extraneous authority.”

The HC also has ordered Tejpal to seek bail from the trial court within 15 days.

“The record bears out that the Respondent had been enlarged on bail subject to certain terms and conditions. There is nothing on record to suggest that the Respondent had at any stage breached the terms and conditions subject to which he was enlarged on bail,” the court observed.

Referring to the application filed by Tejpal to get his passport from the court, which is due for renewal, the Bench ruled “respondent appearing before the trial Court within 15 days from today and the trial Court admitting him to bail, the trial Court should make appropriate orders for the release of the Respondent’s passport, which is presently in the custody of the Registry of the trial Court, for the limited purpose of enabling the Respondent to renew the same.”

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