Delhi court acquits Priya Ramani in criminal defamation case by MJ Akbar:
In a defamation case filed against her by former Union Minister M.J. Akbar, Delhi's Rouse Avenue Court granted substantial relief to journalist Priya Ramani, stating that "the right to dignity can not be protected at the cost of the right to life." Though acquitting Ramani from the defamation case, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ravindra Kumar Pandey further observed that a woman can not be prosecuted for raising her voice against sexual harassment.
Time has come for our community to recognise that, due to emotional distress, often a survivor can not speak up for years. The court said that a woman should not be prosecuted for raising her voice against sexual harassment. It also found that the majority of women do not talk about abuse because of the social stigma attached to it.
Even after years and decades, a survivor has the right to present her grievance,” the court noted. The court also acknowledged the point that Akbar was not a man with an impeccable and stellar reputation. "It can not be ignored that inside closed doors the crime of sexual harassment occurs most of the time and the victim may not understand what is actually happening to them," the court said. And the victim also does not realise what is happening. The victim decides to remain silent, despite going through extreme cruelty, the court noted. Ramani accused the then Minister of State for External Affairs of sexual assault in October 2018. She took to Twitter to say that when she was called to Mumbai's Oberoi Hotel for a work interview in 1993, Akbar sexually assaulted her. After that, Akbar moved his defamation case against Ramani to a Delhi court. In the aftermath of the MeToo campaign in 2018, Ramani made accusations of sexual assault against Akbar. On October 15, 2018, Akbar filed a criminal defamation lawsuit against Ramani for allegedly defaming him over two decades ago by accusing him of sexual assault. In October 2018, Ramani accused the then Minister of State for External Affairs of sexual harassment. She went on Twitter to say that Akbar sexually harassed her when she was called to Mumbai's Oberoi Hotel for a job interview in 1993. After that, Akbar moved his defamation case to a Delhi court against Ramani. Ramani made allegations of sexual harassment against Akbar in the wake of the MeToo movement in 2018. Akbar filed a criminal defamation case on October 15, 2018, against Ramani for falsely defaming him by accusing him of sexual harassment more than two decades ago.