#MeToo: Delhi HC to hear Akbar’s plea against Ramani’s acquittal in defamation case on May 5

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By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: March 25, 2021 2:07:48 pm

MJ Akbar, Priya RamaniMJ Akbar and Priya Ramani. (File Photo)

The Delhi High Court Thursday said it will hear on May 5 a plea by former Union minister M J Akbar challenging a trial court order acquitting journalist Priya Ramani in the criminal defamation case filed against her over allegations of sexual harassment.

The plea, which was originally scheduled to be heard today, could not be taken up as Justice Mukta Gupta was not holding court, news agency PTI reported.

In October 2018, Akbar filed a criminal defamation case against Ramani in a Delhi court, accusing her of damaging his reputation by way of tweets and articles published in print media and online. Ramani had levelled allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment against Akbar during the time when the MeToo campaign had started to gain momentum in India.

Ramani was acquitted by the trial court on February 17. Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ravindra Kumar Pandey had accepted her contention that Akbar is not a man of stellar reputation on the basis of testimonies presented before the court.

“Woman has a right to put up the grievance at any platform of her choice even after decades. Woman cannot be punished for raising voice against sex abuse. Right to reputation cannot be protected at the cost of right to dignity,” the trial court observed.

On October 17, 2018 Akbar had resigned as an Union Minister following the backlash sparked by Ramani’s allegations. Through her trial, Ramani stood by her allegations and told the court that she spoke the truth when she disclosed her experience in the magazine article and her subsequent tweet in October 2018. Several other women had also levelled similar allegations against Akbar.

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