How the Tarun Tejpal verdict set back the rape law reforms


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On May 21, Goa’s district sessions judge, Kshama Joshi acquitted former editor-in-chief of Tehelka magazine, Tarun Tejal of charges of sexually harassing and raping his young colleague in 2013. The judgement said that the complainant did not demonstrate any kind of normative behavior of a victim of sexual assault. The judgement also looked at the victim’s phone messages and frowned upon what were seen as “flirtatious” with men.

This judgement has also come after years of fight for better rape laws, that respected the dignity of women. Suno India’s Menaka Rao, spoke to Usha Ramanathan, a human rights activist, and legal researcher to understand where this judgement stands in the history of rape jurisprudence. Ramanathan won the 2018 Human Rights Heroes Award by the digital rights organisation, Access Now for her work on highlighting the problems with India’s Aadhaar programme.

Show notes:

Acquitting Tejpal, court: Woman did not behave like sexual assault victim
How Tarun Tejpal was given access to the victim’s personal WhatsApp messages to build his defence
The NWMI Stands in Solidarity with the Survivor in Tarun Tejpal Case – NWM India
Police in England and Wales dropping rape inquiries when victims refuse to hand in phones
Power – An open letter to the Supreme Court changed the way many Indians thought about women’s
Mahmood Farooqui vs State (Govt Of Nct Of Delhi) on 25 September, 2017
The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013
Images (1920-1950) – Reasonable Man, Reasonable Woman and Reasonable Expectations
Plea in Supreme Court to save academic freedom
Riley v. California (06/25/2014)

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