A Delhi Court on Wednesday acquitted journalist Priya Ramani in the criminal defamation case filed by former Union Minister MJ Akbar over the "metoo" sexual harassment allegations made by her.
"Sexual abuse takes away dignity and self confidence. Right of reputation can't be protected at the cost of right to dignity", the Court held.
"Woman has right to put her grievance even after decades", the Court observed. It observed that a man of social status can also be a sexual harasser.
"The society must understand the impact of sexual abuse and harassment on its victims", the Court observed.
"Article 21 and the right to equality is guaranteed under the Constitution. She has full right to put up her case in any platform of her choice".
"Time has come for our society to understand that sometimes a victim may for years not speak up due to the mental trauma. The woman cannot be punished for raising her voice against sexual abuse", the order said.
The judgment was delivered by the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Ravindra Kumar Pandey in open court in the presence of both parties.
The court accepted the possibility of defence of accused that she made the disclosure after other women named Akbar as a sexual predator. The Court also accepted that Akbar was not a man of stellar reputation.
It accepted Ramani's contention that Akbar's claim of a stellar reputation was demolished by Ghazala Wahab's testimony, who was also allegedly sexually abused by Akbar.