Saturday, November 30, 2013
TEHELKA CASE UPDATE Tehelka's Tarun Tejpal's bail plea is rejected and according to Judge Anuja Prabhudesai's 25-page order: "The statement of the victim and the documents in the form of emails etc., details of which need not be reproduced here, prima facie indicate that the applicant, who was her mentor and father figure, had not only outraged her modesty but had misused his position, betrayed her trust and violated her body." "It has to be borne in mind that delay in lodging the report is not necessarily fatal and can always be explained. The yardstick of unexplained delay in filing an FIR, which usually goes in favour of the accused, cannot be applied in cases involving sexual offences. The victims of such crime undergo physical as well as mental trauma and humiliation. Their reputation, dignity, honour, future prospects and financial security are at stake and often the victims and their family members are subjected to social ridicule. These circumstances often lead to delay in reporting the incident. "In my considered view, the veracity of the complainant or the statement of the victim cannot be doubted on the ground of delay." "The applicant cannot be heard to say that the subsequent conduct of the victim is contrary to the allegations made in the complaint to the Managing Editor and the insinuations that the victim was a consenting party or that the alleged act was only a lighthearted bantering cannot be accepted." "The material on record prima facie indicates that the applicant is involved in committing acts which constitute offences under Section 354A (outraging the modesty of a woman) and 376 (2)(K) (custodial rape) of IPC. This, being the case, there can be no dispute that the offences alleged are of serious nature. The gravity of the offence, though not the sole criteria, is one of the essential factors, which would disentitle the applicant for bail." "The applicant has nowhere stated in his application that the victim has made the accusation under political pressure or at the behest of any political party. There is no material on record that the applicant is prosecuted as a pre-planned conspiracy or that the investigation is biased or tainted. As such, subsequent comments, statements, or acts of any political party are not relevant considerations for deciding the application" "The material on record prima facie reveal that the applicant by his act, which he has termed as lighthearted banter, had subjected the victim to ignominy, humiliation and disgrace. Hence, the applicant cannot claim bail on the ground that his arrest would curtail his personal liberty or will cause ignominy, humiliation and disgrace." "Considering the totality of the circumstances, in my considered view the applicant is not entitled for bail. Hence, the bail application is hereby dismissed." "Needless to state that the object of the women-specific laws can be achieved only by proper implementation of laws and thorough investigation of such crimes and such thorough investigation would include custodial interrogation." "The offences alleged are crimes against the women and society in general and, if not properly investigated, can destroy the psyche of women and basic fabric of the society. In my considered view, offences of such nature fall in a different category and in the societal interest justify the custodial interrogation."