Indian court acquits magazine editor of rape charges
NEW DELHI, May 21 (Reuters) – An Indian court on Friday acquitted a former editor of a major news magazine on charges of raping a colleague in an eight-year-old case that raised questions about security women in the workplace.
The prosecution has announced its intention to appeal the verdict.
Tarun Tejpal, 58, was editor-in-chief of Tehelka magazine, which has made a name for itself by exposing corruption and abuse of power in the upper echelons. The magazine had also taken a stand to urge society to face sexual violence.
Police said Tejpal assaulted a female staff member in a hotel elevator during a conference in Goa state in 2013.
Special prosecutor Francisco Tavora told Reuters in a text message that a trial court in Goa had acquitted Tejpal and the prosecution planned to appeal.
“The state is wronged by the order,” Tavora said.
Details of why the court dismissed the case will be available after the publication of a written judgment, Tavora’s office said.
The high-profile case was presented as a young employee’s fight for justice against a famous editor in a country where few people speak out against abuse of power and sexual harassment in the workplace.
On Friday, Tejpal said he was relieved that Judge Kshama Joshi had dismissed the case on the basis of false accusations of sexual assault. His family has gone through a difficult time, he said.
“The past seven and a half years have been traumatic for my family as we have had to deal with the catastrophic fallout from these false allegations on all aspects of our personal, professional and public life,” he said in a statement. his daughter read outside the research.
There was no response from the complainant, who cannot be identified under Indian law to protect her privacy.
Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said his government would appeal the verdict to the High Court.
“We will not tolerate any injustice towards women in Goa. It is extremely sad.”
India’s rape laws have been tightened and fast-track courts have been put in place since the gang rape of a young woman on a Delhi bus and her murder in 2012 shocked the country.
But the criminal justice system remains notoriously slow and cases still take an average of six years to reach a final decision, according to the Daksh governance monitoring group. Many cases fall by the wayside.
“The justice system is letting another woman down. No wonder women don’t want to file a complaint with the police,” Kavita Krishnan, secretary of the All India Progressive Women’s Association, a left-wing group fighting for women, said on Twitter. womens rights.
“At the end of it all, the brave woman didn’t even have a taste of justice.”
Activists say women in Indian workplaces are reluctant to report sexual harassment by co-workers, managers or employers, fearing they will lose their jobs or face public stigma.
Reporting by Tanvi Mehta and Kannaki Deka; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani and Lincoln Feast.
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