Delhi Court acquits Journalist Priya Ramani in MJ Akbar defamation case
New Delhi, Feb 17: A Delhi court has acquitted journalist Priya Ramani in the criminal defamation case filed against her by former Union minister MJ Akbar.
"Women can't be punished for raising instances of sexual abuse. The Constitution allows women to put forward her grievances before any forum and at any time," the court observed.
"Sexual abuse takes away dignity and self-confidence (and) the social stigma attached with the allegations.. society must understand the impact of sexual abuse and harassment on its victims," the court said.
"Even a man of (high) social status (standing) can be a sexual harasser," the court said, adding right of reputation (referring to MJ Akbar's claim that Ramani's allegations had tarnished his image) cannot be protected at the cost of right to dignity.
Who is Priya Ramani? What is MJ Akbar defamation case
Priya Ramani is a journalist, writer, and editor. She has worked at The Asian Age in 1994, then Reuters, Elle, India Today, Cosmopolitan magazine and Mint Lounge. Ramani has also written for Livemint, Indian Express and Vogue India.
She also serves as an editorial board member of Article 14, a website about the rule of law in India.
Ramani had made allegation of sexual misconduct against Akbar in the wake of #MeToo movement in 2018.
Akbar had filed the complaint against Ramani on October 15, 2018 for allegedly defaming him by accusing him of sexual misconduct decades ago.
He resigned as Union minister on October 17, 2018.
He has denied all the allegations of sexual harassment against the women who came forward during #MeToo campaign against him.
Reacting to the court verdict, Ramani said she felt vindicated on behalf of all the women who have ever spoken out against sexual harassment at work place.
"It feels amazing, truly does. I feel vindicated on behalf of all the women who have ever spoken out against sexual harassment at work place," she said.