Warning message

This comes on the day the court was expected to hear a rebuttal from Akbar’s lawyer to the final arguments made by Priya Ramani's counsel in the previous hearing.

A collage of journalist Priya Ramani and former Union Minister and BJP MP MJ Akbar
news Court Tuesday, October 13, 2020 - 18:15

For the past two years, a Delhi court has been hearing a criminal defamation case filed by BJP MP MJ Akbar, accused of sexual harassment by over 20 women, against journalist Priya Ramani. Most of the hearing has taken place and final arguments have been completed. However, the day the court was expected to hear a rebuttal from Akbar’s lawyer to the final arguments made by Priya Ramani's counsel, the judge announced that it was not supposed to hear the case in the first place. 

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vishal Pahuja on Tuesday told both the parties that as per a Supreme Court direction, that particular court can only hear cases filed against MPs or MLAs, and cannot hear cases filed by them. The criminal defamation case had been filed by the former Union Minister against journalist Priya Ramani following sexual harassment allegations. The judge has said that the case will now be shifted to another court.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vishal Pahuja told the parties: “As per the Supreme Court's directions, only matters filed against MPs and MLAs can be listed before the Rouse Avenue court.” The court then listed the matter before the District and Sessions Judge for October 14 for appropriate orders.

Now, the District and Sessions Judge is expected to pass directions on whether the case will have to be transferred to another court or will continue to be heard by judge Vishal Pahuja. If the case is passed to another court, the final arguments by each party will have to be heard by the new judge all over again.

MJ Akbar had filed the criminal defamation case in October 2018. During the #MeToo movement, Priya Ramani had accused Akbar of sexual misconduct around 20 years ago when he was a journalist. Later, several women came up with accounts of the alleged sexual harassment by him while they were working as journalists under him. MJ Akbar has denied all the allegations.

Become a TNM Member for just Rs 999!
You can also support us with a one-time payment.