New Delhi, Dec 14 : Journalist Priya Ramani on Monday told a Delhi court that all those women who spoke against the sexual misconduct by former Union Minister M.J. Akbar in the wake of #MeToo movement in 2018 should be celebrated and not prosecuted for defamation.
In 2018, Ramani had accused Akbar of sexual harassment during his previous role as newspaper editor 20 years ago. Pursuant to her accusation, several former colleagues of Akbar also come out with different allegations against him.
After allegations of sexual harassment were levelled, Akbar had to resign as Union Minister.
He filed a criminal defamation suit case against Ramani, asserting that her allegations were “false” and that it had cost him his stellar reputation.
“#MeToo came to India in 2018. It was not a crime to speak up on platform. These are acts of extreme courage that require celebration and not the acts for which one should face defamation,” Advocate Rebecca John, appearing for Ramani, told the court.
Ramani made submissions before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ravindra Kumar Pandey, who is hearing the final arguments in the criminal defamation case filed by the former Union Minister against her for allegations of sexual harassment.
Advocate John further told the court that several people spoke up about past incidents, unburdened themselves and that they are not guilty. She added that besides Ramani, at least 15 other women journalists also made similar allegations against Akbar.
“We have proved that Akbar’s reputation is not impeccable…Does it mean that all 15 women were liars? Akbar started his defamation campaign only against Ramani. When you isolate, are you singling out someone and why” the advocate asked.
Counsel for Ramani also read out a statement by another journalist Ghazala Wahab, who too had accused Akbar of sexual misconduct. “A very serious allegation but Akbar chooses not to prosecute her. Ramani did not start it,” she said, adding that Ghazala tweeted two days prior to Ramani.
Recently, Akbar, through his counsel — advocate Geeta Luthra, told the court that statement made by Ramani were “defamatory, lowered his reputation, and were widely disseminated”.
Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from IANS service.