Former Union minister MJ Akbar on Wednesday moved the Delhi High Court against the acquittal of journalist Priya Ramani in a criminal defamation case, reported Bar and Bench. On February 17, a court in Delhi had acquitted Ramani in the defamation case filed by Akbar. Ramani had accused Akbar of sexual harassment during the #MeToo movement in India in 2018.
The plea is listed for hearing before Justice Mukta Gupta on Thursday.
Following the allegations in 2018, Akbar resigned from the Union Council of Ministers and filed a defamation case against her.
A timeline of the case from October 2018
Ramani had first made the allegations about an incident of sexual harassment by an acclaimed newspaper editor in an article in Vogue India in 2017. She identified Akbar as that editor during the #MeToo movement in October 2018.
The Patiala House Court summoned Ramani as an accused in January 2019 after Akbar filed the defamation case against her. In February 2019, she was granted bail on a personal bond of Rs 10,000.
In May 2019, Akbar denied meeting Ramani in a hotel room where she alleged he had sexually harassed her. He also dismissed all the information that Ramani provided about the meeting.
Ramani told the Delhi court in September 2020 that she deserved to be acquitted as she shared her experience in good faith and encouraged other women to speak out against sexual harassment. Her lawyer Rebecca John, while submitting the final arguments in the case, said that Ramani had proved her allegations against Akbar with solid evidence, which were also confirmed by multiple women.
In November, Ramani and Akbar had rejected the court’s proposal for mutual settlement in the case. On November 18, the Delhi High Court had transferred Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vishal Pahuja, who presided over the case.
After her acquittal in February, Ramani had said she felt vindicated on behalf of all the women who spoke out against sexual harassment. “Sexual harassment has got the attention it deserves,” she said. “This matter has been about women, it hasn’t been about me. I happened to represent all the women who spoke up...the women who spoke up before me and the women who spoke up after me.”