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MJ Akbar defamation case on Priya Ramani: Delhi court pronounces verdict

Wednesday, February 17, 2021 • Tamil Comments

A Delhi court has acquitted journalist Priya Ramani of all charges in a defamation case filed against her by former Union Minister MJ Akbar.

Reading the order, the court reportedly said that there are social stigma attached with the allegations. "Society must understand the impact of sexual abuse and harassment on its victims, read the court. Woman has right to put her grievance even after decades," it said. Noting that a man of a social status can still be a sexual abuser, the court added, "Right of reputation can't be protected at the cost of right to dignity." MJ Akbar had filed the suit against Priya Ramani on October 15, 2018, for allegedly defaming him by accusing him of sexual misconduct years ago when he was a journalist. Priya Ramani had claimed that he had called her to his hotel bedroom for a job interview and behaved inappropriately. When several other women accused him of similar crimes, the editor-turned-politician resigned as Minister of State for External Affairs in 2018.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ravindra Kumar Pandey said, "It can't be ignored that most times sexual harassment is committed behind closed doors... Most of the women who suffer abuse can't often speak up due to stigma and attack on their character." Addressing the media after the verdict, Priya Ramani stated, "It feels amazing, truly does. I feel vindicated on behalf of all the women who have ever spoken out against sexual harassment in the workplace. Sexual harassment has got the attention it deserves despite the fact that it is me, being the victim who had to stand up in court as the accused."

 

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