The next hearing is scheduled for November 21.

A trial court in Goa on Thursday formally framed the charge of rape against former Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal in connection with an alleged rape and sexual abuse case filed against him in November, 2013.

He was charged under sections 376(2) (rape), 354 A (sexual harassment) and B (criminal force with intent to disrobe), 341 (wrongful restraint) 342 (wrongful confinement), to which he has pleaded not guilty.

The next hearing is scheduled for November 21.

Tejpal’s counsel Rajiv Gomes expressed disappointment at Judge Vijaya Pol’s order, saying the defence had hopes that with their appeal pending before it, the Bombay High Court at Goa would reverse the lower court’s order.

On Thursday afternoon, North Goa’s Additional District and Sessions Court finalised the charges against him. He pleaded before the District and Sessions judge to not frame charges against Tejpal in view of an appeal petition filed by counsel of the accused before the High Court last week. The court did not heed to the plea.

“When the High Court has not imposed a stay on framing of charges why should I impose a stay on myself,” Judge Pol said. She scheduled the next hearing for November 21 when a status of the High Court petition would be presented before her.

“The court has to explain the charges to him as per procedure. He has pleaded not guilty to all of that,” Public Prosecutor Francisco Tavora told presspersons.

Mr. Gomes, however, told presspersons that the framing of charges was not a setback to Tejpal.

‘Not a setback’

“It is not a setback at all. It is just a procedural act of explaining the charges. The order is already challenged before the High Court, so if the High Court reverses the order, it is the end of the matter,” he said.

On September 26, while hearing a primary appeal petition filed by Tejpal seeking a stay on the framing of charges, the High Court had directed that the trial should take place only after its consent, but had refused to stay the process of framing of charges against Tejpal, which was the plea of the defence lawyers.

The High Court will be hearing the appeal petition filed by Tejpal’s counsel on Tuesday, on November 1.

Tejpal has been charged for alleged sexual assault of a junior female colleague in the elevator of a five star hotel in north Goa for two consecutive days during an event in November, 2013. He was subsequently arrested and is out on bail.

source- indiatoday and the hindu