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Court Acquits Priya Ramani in Defamation Case by MJ Akbar, Cites Ramayana: ‘Reverence To Women Essential To Indian Ethos’
Delhi court dismissed former minister MJ Akbar's criminal defamation case against Priya Ramani in the #MeToo case. Court said no charge proved against her, as it cites Jatayu & Sita from the Ramayana & quotes also from the Mahabharata.
New Delhi: In a major development, the Delhi Court on Wednesday acquitted journalist Priya Ramani in criminal defamation case filed by former Union Minister MJ Akbar against her. In the defamation case against journalist Priya Ramani, the court said the woman has right to put her grievance even after decades.
The court dismissed MJ Akbar’s criminal defamation case against Priya Ramani in the #MeToo case and said there is no charge proved against her, as it cites Jatayu & Sita from the Ramayana & quotes also from the Mahabharata.
What the court said?
1) The Delhi court accepted Ramani’s contention that she only got the courage to speak up years later.
2) Moreover, the court also accepted Ramani’s contention that Akbar’s claim of a stellar reputation was demolished by Ghazala Wahab’s testimony, who was also allegedly sexually abused by Akbar.
3) The court said it can’t be ignored that most of the times the offense of sexual harassment takes place inside closed doors and the victim may not understand what is actually happening to them.
4) Citing an instance of Valmiki Ramayan, the court said in its order, when Laxman asked to describe Sita, he mentioned that he never looked beyond her feet to establish that reverence to women is essential in Indian ethos.
5) The court said the society must understand the impact of sexual abuse and harassment on its victims.
What was the defamation suit?
Filing his defamation suit, MJ Akbar had claimed that Priya Ramani caused damage to his “stellar reputation” by accusing him of sexual harassment in an article written in 2017 and a tweet posted 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.
However, Ramani later countered Akbar saying that she said what actually happened. “Truth is my defence,” Priya Ramani said.
Notably, Priya Ramani’s charge against MJ Akbar came in the backdrop of a global #MeToo campaign that began with a series of allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein in the US in 2017.