MJ Akbar vs Priya Ramani Defamation case: Delhi court acquits Ramani
Priya Ramani was the first woman to accuse the former Minister of State of External Affairs of sexual misconduct in the wake of the #MeToo movement in 2018.
On Wednesday, journalist Priya Ramani got acquitted by a Delhi Court in a criminal defamation filed by the former Union Minister MJ Akbar.
The matter was adjourned after the written submissions were submitted late, a Delhi Court said on Feb 10. The court had reserved the judgment after Akbar well as Ramani completed their arguments on Feb 1.
In the wake of #MeToo movement in 2018, Ramani had made an allegation of sexual harassment against Akbar. Pursuant to this, he filed the criminal defamation case against her and resigned as the Union Minister. Trial began in 2019 and has gone on for almost two years.
In 2017, Ramani also wrote an article for the magazine - Vogue - where she described her ordeal of being sexually harassed by a former boss during her job interview for his publication. One year later, during the #MeToo movement, she revealed that the person alluded to as harasser in article was MJ Akbar.
Ramani was the first woman to accuse the MJ Akbar’s misconduct. Over 20 other women accused him of sexual harassment during the time they had worked with him as journalists. He has, however, termed the allegations “false, fabricated and deeply distressing.”
Akbar told the court that Ramani's allegations were fictitious and cost him his stellar reputation. Priya Ramani, on the other hand, contested these claims, pleaded truth as her defence and said that she made allegations in good faith, public interest, and for public good.
The judgement in the case is important as it sets a precedent for similar cases which arose from the discourse-changing #MeToo movement.
(With inputs from IANS)