#MeToo: Priya Ramani seeks acquittal in defamation case

Journalist Priya Ramani on Saturday sought acquittal in a criminal defamation complaint filed against her by former Union Minister M.J. Akbar, saying freedom of speech and expression is intrinsic to a democratic society and her accusations of sexual harassment against him were “her truth”.

In the wake of the #MeToo campaign, Ms. Ramani in 2018 accused Mr. Akbar of sexual misconduct with her around 20 years ago, when he was a journalist. Mr. Akbar resigned as a Union Minister on October 17, 2018.

Freedom of speech

Mr. Ramani, who concluded her arguments on Saturday in the complaint filed against her by Mr. Akbar, told the court through her lawyer that the #MeToo campaign was started to correct the structural wrong, which was continuing for long.

“The #MeToo movement gave a platform to thousands of women all across the world to come forward and share their stories of sexual harassment. Freedom of speech and expression is critical and intrinsic to democracy. I [Ms. Ramani] was a small part of a large movement. I have proved my case and I deserve to be acquitted,” senior advocate Rebecca John, appearing on behalf of Ms. Ramani, told Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vishal Pahuja.

What Ms. Ramani had said against Mr. Akbar was ‘her truth’, said in public good,” the lawyer added.

The court will hear the matter again on October 13.

Ms. Ramani had earlier told the court that she was “targeted selectively” through a criminal defamation complaint by Mr. Akbar “to halt the avalanche of allegations of sexual misconduct that came out against him” in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

Mr. Akbar had told the court that Ms. Ramani had defamed him by using adjectives such as “media’s biggest predator” to describe him, which harmed his reputation. The BJP leader has denied all allegations of sexual harassment against him.

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Printable version | Oct 23, 2020 12:23:14 AM |

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