New Delhi: The Supreme Court has held there is "more than a prima facie case" and "ample" evidence against the founding editor of 'Tehelka' magazine Tarun Tejpal, who has been ordered to stand trial in a sexual assault case lodged by a former junior colleague.
A bench led by Justice Arun Mishra noted that the trial court has rightly framed charges against Tejpal and that his appeal lacked merit.
"On considering the material on record, we are of the opinion there is more than a prima facie case against the accused for which he is required to be tried," said the judgment authored by Justice MR Shah.
The judgment, released on Tuesday, said, "There is sufficient ample material against the accused and therefore the learned trial court has rightly framed the charge against the accused and the same is rightly confirmed by the High Court."
It maintained that no interference of this court is called for, while also underlining the gravity of the allegations against Tejpal.
"Considering the fact that the allegations against the appellant of sexual abuse are very serious and affecting the dignity of a woman and (that it) is the most morally and physically reprehensible crime in a society, an assault on the mind and privacy of the victim and the trial for such offences are required to be decided and disposed of at the earliest," held the top court.
It also took into account the fact that in the present case, the trial court has framed the charge against the accused and the incident dates back to 2013.
"There is already a delay in concluding the trial because of the pending proceedings, we direct the learned trial court to conclude the trial at the earliest within a period of six months from the date of receipt of the order of this court," directed the bench.
It further said that everyone concerned must cooperate with the trial court in the earlier disposal of the trial and within the stipulated time.
The court had on Monday declined to quash the charges against Tejpal and dismissed his petitions.
A junior colleague of Tejpal had accused him of sexually assaulting her inside a lift at a five-star hotel in Goa during an event in 2013, triggering a massive public outrage. He is currently out on bail.
After a Goa court ordered him to stand the trial, Tejpal moved the Supreme Court, seeking the charges of rape and wrongful confinement against him quashed.