Delhi HC Adjourns Akbar's Appeal Against Ramani Acquittal saying that ‘There are far more important matters’
On Wednesday, the Delhi High Court adjourned an appeal filed by former Union minister and journalist M.J. Akbar against a trial court order that acquitted journalist Priya Ramani in the defamation suit filed by the former, after she had accused him of sexual harassment.
Akbar had filed a defamation case against Ramani in 2018, after she levelled sexual harassment allegations against him. The trial court had acquitted Ramani in the case on February 17.
While acquitting Ramani in the case, the court had ruled that Ramani “cannot be punished for raising her voice against sexual assault” and that she “has the right to put her grievance at any platform even after a decade”.
Observing that “even a man of social status can be a sexual harasser”, the judge also said that a woman has the right to put her grievance before any platform of her choice – even after decades.
In the 91-page verdict, the court observed that a person’s “right of reputation can’t be protected at the cost of right to dignity”.
Akbar, in his criminal defamation suit, had accused Ramani of harming his repute with tweets and articles. Ramani had spoken of her experience of being harassed by Akbar, then an editor of a daily, as a young job aspirant. Ramani going public with her experiences during the #MeToo campaign had given it significant impetus.
Her acquittal in the defamation case has been hailed as a big victory for the movement in India.