Tarun Tejpal acquitted: The eight-year-long alleged sexual harassment case trial of the Tehelka founder has come to an end today. Tarun Tejpal who had been charged with rape, sexual harassment and wrongful confinement cases, was acquitted of all charges by a Goa sessions court on May 21.
Tarun Tejpal was accused of sexually harassing his woman colleague in North Goa back in 2013. The woman journalist alleged that she was sexually assaulted by Tejpal while they worked together. The Tehelka founder had then reportedly sent a long email of apology to the alleged survivor after the accusation. However, he pleaded “not guilty” in court after facing charges. Read the timeline of the case here.
Following the verdict, Tejpal thanked the court for being “impartial”. He further added, “The past seven-and-a-half years have been traumatic for my family as we have dealt with the catastrophic fallout of these false allegations on every aspect of our personal, professional, and public lives.” Read more on the Tejpal case verdict here.
The Goa Government also reacted to the verdict and confirmed that it would be moving High Court against it.
After the verdict was announced social media has been buzzing with contrasting reactions to it. While some people defended Tejpal and the verdict, many journalists and users have questioned it and the imbalance of power. Many netizens also pointed out how the alleged survivor was not fighting Tejpal alone but also all his “rich and powerful friends” as well.
Akancha Srivastava, a “social change leader”, and cyber safety expert tweeted her disappointment with the verdict. The founder of the Akancha Against Harassment questioned if women should even bother filing complaints and lawsuits if this will be the end result.
— Akancha Srivastava (@AkanchaS) May 21, 2021
Entrepreneur and writer Vikas Saraswat tweeted, “Nobody has held judiciary in more contempt than those who are at the helm of it.”
Nobody has held judiciary in more contempt than those who are at the helm of it. #TarunTejpal
— Vikas Saraswat (@VikasSaraswat) May 21, 2021
Janani Sampath Veeravalli, a journalist based in Chennai, called judiciary is India a “big joke for the rich and powerful”.
After he openly said he sought atonement for the act. Now, he is acquitted. Judiciary in India is a big joke for the rich and powerful. https://t.co/8vLKA55qvX
— Janani Sampath Veeravalli✍️ 🇮🇳 (@jananisampath) May 21, 2021
Author Meghna Pant pointed out how our country has taught millions other women to normalise sexual harassment.
Why are we surprised? This is what our country has taught her, and me, and our million other women: to normalise sexual harassment. When it comes to saving ourselves, we simply don’t know how. Nor does our law. #TarunTejpal
— Meghna Pant (@MeghnaPant) May 21, 2021
Take a look at other reactions here.
#TarunTejpal acquitted of all charges in the alleged sexual assault case against him.
The victim wasn't just fighting him, she was up against all his wine and cheese pals and society itself. This just normalizes old farts feeling up young girls like it's a perk of success.
— Sangita (@Sanginamby) May 21, 2021
Did the plaintiff have such a high profile legal team? It's possible that the 'political/social' standing of the lawyers sways the jury. Something like 'invisible' bullying which leads to 'invisible' submission!#TarunTejpal pic.twitter.com/NH0guuYt90
— BlueTreeLakes (@bluetreelakes) May 21, 2021
Tejpal can keep his spineless power circle close but we stand with the survivor.
You are strong, you are believed and you will always be hope for the rest of us to fight.
— Neha Mathews (@Neha_Mathews_) May 21, 2021