No ‘attraction’ for Goa: Tushar Mehta quips in HC

Panaji:- High on the bucket-lists of domestic tourists as a go-to destination, Goa bodes no “attraction” for Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta, one of the government’s top law officers.

Mehta made the disclosure in lighter vein to the Bombay High Court, during a discussion for setting up of a fresh date for the ongoing hearings related to an appeal filed by the Goa government, against the acquittal of former Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal by a trial court in May this year.

While Mehta was seeking to appear before a virtual hearing of the case, Justice Sunil Deshmukh, suggested that the Bombay High Court may be opting for physical hearings in the near future and urged Mehta to visit Goa instead.

“I would definitely like to. But as a tourist, not… I am not busy. First of all, just on the lighter side. Coming from Gujarat I have no attraction in Goa,” Mehta said.

“In Gujarat, we are teetotallers and vegetarians. Second, I would still like to come to Goa but as a tourist not for work,” Mehta also said.

Responding to Mehta’s quip, Justice Mahesh Sonak said: “We have legal tourism here”.

Mehta’s adversary in the Tejpal case, senior advocate Amit Desai, who was also present during the virtual hearing, while responding to Mehta’s reluctance to visit Goa, also said: “Mr. Mehta should know that many of his Delhi colleagues have houses in Goa”.

The hearing in the case, related to the Goa government’s appeal in the rape case, will now be held virtually on August 31.

Tejpal was charged against under sections 376 (rape), 341 (wrongful restraint), 342 (wrongful confinement) 354A (sexual harassment) and 354B (criminal assault), of the Indian Penal Code, after a junior colleague accused him of rape at a five star resort in Goa in 2013.

On May 21, he was acquitted by the trial court in Goa citing “benefit of doubt”, following which an appeal was filed by the state government.