Delhi Court acquits Priya Ramani in a defamation case filed by former Minister MJ Akbar
Npnews24 : A Delhi Court on Wednesday acquitted journalist Priya Ramani in the criminal defamation case filed by former Union Minister MJ Akbar over her allegations of sexual misconduct against him. The court, while acquitting Ramani, said that ‘woman has the right to put her grievance even after decades’.
“Sexual harassment has got the attention it deserves. Despite the fact that it was me the victim who had to stand up in court as the accused. I thank everyone who stood by me, especially my witnesses Ghazala Wahab and Niloufer Venkataraman who came to court and testified on my behalf. I thank the court for this verdict. I thank my lawyers, Rebecca John and her amazing team, who believed in me and in the wider cause. They put their heart and soul into this,” Priya said.
While acquitting Ramani, the Delhi court observed that even a man of social status can be a sexual harasser. “Sexual abuse takes away dignity and self-confidence,” it said, adding that the “right of reputation can’t be protected at the cost of right to dignity”.
In the wake of #MeToo movement in 2018, Ramani had made an allegation of sexual harassment against Akbar. Pursuant to this, he filed the criminal defamation case against her and resigned as the Union Minister. The trial began in 2019 and went on for almost two years.
The judgement in the case is important as it sets a precedent for similar cases which arose from the discourse-changing #MeToo movement.