Apex court judge recuses from hearing Tejpal's plea
New Delhi: Justice L Nageswara Rao of the Supreme Court on Friday recused from hearing a plea filed by Tarun Tejpal, the founder of Tehelka magazine, against the Bombay High Court order dismissing his petition seeking quashing of rape and other charges levelled against him by a former colleague.
A bench comprising Justices Rao and S A Bobde took up the petition for hearing, but after senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Tejpal, referred to one of the documents in the case file, Justice Rao recused from hearing.
Initially, Justice Bobde observed, "we are not interfering with it (high court's order)".
Sibal, however, referred to one of the documents and said the issue in it should have been pointed out earlier by them. He also said that he was ready to make a statement that the matter could be heard by the bench.
"List before the Bench of which one of us, (L Nageswara Rao, J) is not a member," the bench noted in its order.
The Bombay High Court at Goa had on December 20 last year dismissed Tejpal's plea seeking quashing of charges against him. The trial court in Mapusa town of Goa had earlier framed charges against Tejpal under various sections of the IPC, including that of alleged sexual harassment and provisions related to rape.
On December 6 last year, the apex court had asked the lower court to start examining witnesses in the case of 2013 against Tejpal, saying there would be no stay of the trial.
Tejpal is alleged to have sexually assaulted a former colleague inside the elevator of a five-star hotel in Goa in 2013. Tejpal has denied all allegations levelled against him.