New Delhi: The Delhi High Court posted for hearing on May 5 the appeal filed by former Union Minister M.J. Akbar in the criminal defamation case against the acquittal of journalist Priya Ramani by the court in a criminal defamation case.
The court of Justice Mukta Gupta did not sit on Thursday and the matter was adjourned. It will now be taken up in May.
On February 17, a district court had acquitted Ramani, who was accused by Akbar of causing damage to his reputation as a senior journalist. Ramani, he argued, had put a false accusation against him of sexually abusing her through a journal.
The court then upheld Priya Ramani's right to protect and uphold her dignity as a woman through the medium of her choice. "The women has right to put her grievance at any platform of her choice and even after decades," Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ravindra Kumar Pandey had noted, while acquitting her.
The court had further said that right of reputation cannot be protected at the cost of right to dignity. "Women cannot be punished for raising voice against the sexual abuse in the pretext of complaint of defamation."
In the wake of #MeToo movement in 2018, Ramani had made allegation of sexual harassment against Akbar. Pursuant to this, he filed the criminal defamation case against her and resigned as the Union Minister. Trial began in 2019 and went on for almost two years.
In 2017, Ramani wrote an article for the Vogue where she described her ordeal of being sexually harassed by a former boss during her job interview for his publication, without naming the individual. One year later, she revealed that the person alluded to as harasser in article was M.J. Akbar.
Akbar told the court that Ramani's allegations were fictitious and cost him his stellar reputation. Priya Ramani, on the other hand, contested these claims, pleaded truth as her defence and said that she made allegations in good faith, public interest, and for public good.
(With IANS inputs)