Panaji, Sep 22 : The Goa government which is representing the victim in the rape case filed against former editor-in-chief of Tehelka news magazine, Tarun Tejpal, will have to approach the Supreme Court of India to seek an extension in the deadline set by the apex court for completion of the trial.
An order by a single judge bench of the Bombay High Court in Goa on Tuesday follows a request by the victim, who has sought time to appear before the trial court in Goa, stating that she was unable to travel to Goa from Delhi in the wake of the pandemic citing health concerns.
“Unless the petitioner approaches the Apex Court and seeks extension of time fixed earlier, there is nothing much either this Court or the trial Court could do,” says the order issued on Tuesday by Justice Dama Seshadri Naidu.
In December last year, the Apex Court had directed the trial court in Goa to complete the much-delayed trial within six months.
Last month, the trial court had issued a bailable warrant to be served on the victim, after she failed to turn up for successive hearings citing health concerns in the wake of the pandemic. The victim is currently residing in the national capital.
The victim then approached the High Court bench pleading for suspension of the warrant and was subsequently granted relief.
“As seen from the record, the trial Court is in a predicament. It has been tasked with completing the trial in this case in a time-frame: by December 2020. And that time-frame was fixed by the Supreme Court,” the Court order said.
“So we cannot blame the trial Court for the procedure it has adopted and the directions it issued to secure the presence of the petitioner, “the victim and principal witness,” the order said.
The former editor-in-chief has been accused of sexually assaulting a junior female colleague in the elevator of a hotel in north Goa during an event in November 2013.
Tejpal faces charges under Sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 342 (wrongful confinement), 354 (b) (criminal assault with intent to disrobe) and 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code.