A courtroom and a 4-hr wait

Tarun tejpalTarun Tejpal comes out of the court in Panaji on Saturday. (IE Photo: Prashant Nadkar)

A birthday cake that reached post midnight, a flight that was almost missed, and an argument over which is a better market in Goa. The discussions were left unfinished, after various stakeholders in the Tarun Tejpal anticipatory bail case left a Goan court room after spending four long hours waiting to hear the order.

The arguments and counter arguments were heard from 10 am, with the order expected around 4.30 pm. As that dragged on till 8.05 pm, the courtroom was the subject of passionate debates, including arguments over the finer points of the case.

The first bunch to arrive were the reporters. The TV journalists stood by the aisle, since it was easier for them to run to their cameras parked outside the moment the order was read.

At 4.30 pm, Tejpal's family arrived, taking the third last row, at a distance from the media. The Crime Branch team followed soon after the six lawyers of Tejpal, led by Geeta Luthra, also arrived at this time. While two were from Goa, the rest had flown down from Delhi. Public prosecutor Saresh Lotlikar looked assured as he made his entry.

The court was full now, but judge Anuja Prabhudesai was in her chamber studying both the arguments. Known to be extremely meticulous, and also known among local advocates for the length of her orders, she took her time.

Court clerks said she began studying the arguments and the judgments cited by the two sides at 2.30 pm. The dictation of 25 pages of her order would finally continue till 8 pm. She called for a change of stenographer at 5.30 pm to give relief to the first clerk.

Inside the court room, some junior women lawyers left after waiting for an hour saying they had to catch a bus and the evening traffic was difficult on a Saturday.

... contd.

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