A Delhi court had found Priya Ramani not guilty of the defamation case filed by MJ Akbar over sexual harassment allegations against him.

Stylized collage of Journalist Priya Ramani and former Union Minister MJ Akbar
news Me Too Wednesday, March 24, 2021 - 22:06

A month after journalist Priya Ramani was acquitted in the defamation case filed by former Union Minister and her colleague MJ Akbar, he has now moved the Delhi High Court against the acquittal. Justice Mukta Gupta will be presiding over the case on March 25. 

MJ Akbar had filed a criminal defamation case against Priya Ramani over her allegations of sexual harassment. Priya Ramani had recounted the inappropriate behaviour of a ‘male editor’ at the workplace in a 2017 Vogue article during the MeToo movement. Later, in October 2018, she revealed the article was on MJ Akbar. At least 16 more women found courage in Priya Ramani’s testimony and spoke against MJ Akbar.  

After several months of hearing, on February 17 this year, a Delhi court found Priya Ramani not guilty in the criminal defamation case. Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Ravindra Pandey also observed that "even a man of social status can be a sexual harasser." He had also acknowledged that the trauma compels many survivors of sexual harassment to remain silent for years, and legitimised them speaking up later, even after a decade. 

Priya Ramani’s acquittal by the Delhi court is considered a landmark judgment in the ‘Me Too’ movement in India. The court’s judgment was a significant response to those who often slam the survivors for speaking about the sexual harassment or assault “late.” In its judgment, the court acknowledged the stigma associated with sexual harassment. It also pointed out the lack of due process that Priya Ramani had access to when she was working with MJ Akbar. It also stressed that a woman has the right to voice out her grievance after decades.

READ: Priya Ramani is a trailblazer and her victory matters to all of us

 

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