Defamation charges framed against Ramani

After senior journalist pleads not guilty in Akbar case

Published - April 11, 2019 06:51 am IST - New Delhi

A Delhi court framed defamation charges against senior journalist Priya Ramani in a case filed by former Union Minister M.J. Akbar, on Wednesday.

Mr. Akbar has accused Ms. Ramani of defaming him by alleging that he sexually assaulted several women journalists when they were working with him.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal framed the charges against the journalist when Ms. Ramani pleaded not guilty and claimed trial in response to the reading out of allegations to her by the court.

Matter listed for May 4

Later, the court listed the matter for May 4 for recording of complainant’s evidence.

The court had last month summoned Ms. Ramani as an accused saying that “all that is necessary to take a prima facie view that the offence of defamation has been committed against the complainant by the respondent Ms. Priya Ramani exists on record.”

The court had summoned her after recording pre-summoning evidence of Mr. Akbar and his witnesses cited in the complaint.

“The witnesses prove that the reputation of the complainant was lowered in their estimation, which is an essential requirement of the offence of defamation. A person cannot be defamed in his own eyes. A man’s reputation is the estimate in which others holds him, not the good opinion which he has of himself. There has to be other reasonable, prudent and right thinking members of society, who say that the reputation of a person aggrieved is lowered in their estimation,” the court had further said.

Mr. Akbar in his evidence had said that he suffered “damage due to the scurrilous and false charges levelled by Ms. Ramani”.

In his complaint, Mr. Akbar cited an open letter by Ms. Ramani published in Vogue magazine last year and her tweets naming him. He sought her prosecution under Section 499 (defamation) and punishable under Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code. The offence attracts a simple imprisonment of two years or fine or both.

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