Despite Being A Victim, I Stood In Court As Accused: Priya

Journalist Priya Ramani, who was on Wednesday acquitted by a court here in a criminal defamation case filed by former Union Minister MJ Akbar against her, said that despite being a victim, she had to stand in the court as an accused.

Speaking to newspersons, Ramani said, “Despite the fact that I was the victim, I had to stand in the court as accused. I thank everyone who stood by me especially my two witnesses who came to testify on my behalf: Gazala Wahab and Venkataraman. I thank the court for this verdict and I thank my lawyer Rebecca John and the team who believed in me and in the wider cause. They put their heart and soul in this case.”

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ravindra Kumar Pandey said that no complaint of defamation is proved against Ramani.

The Court said right of reputation cannot be protected at the cost of right to dignity. It said the woman has right to put her grievance even after decades.
The court also referred to the Ramayan and Mahabharata while pronouncing its judgment.

The Court while pronouncing the order said, “Women cannot be punished for raising voice against the sexual abuse on the pretext of complaint of defamation. The woman has the right to put her grievance at any platform of her choice and even after decades.”

The court was of the view that the case of defamation is not true and acquitted her. The right of reputation can’t be protected at the cost of the right to dignity.

The Court noted that Akbar is a man of reputation and also considered that contents were defamatory in nature. The Court observes that even a man of social status can be a sexual harasser. The Court says sexual abuse takes away dignity and self-confidence.

Akbar, the former Minister of State for External Affairs, had filed a defamation case against the journalist Priya Ramani for accusing him of sexual misconduct.

Ramani was the first woman to accuse Akbar of sexual harassment during the #MeToo campaign. The allegations levelled against him forced him to resign from the Union Cabinet on 17 October 2018. (ANI)

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