#MeToo Stand Act Of Courage, Not Defamation: Priya

Journalist Priya Ramani on Monday submitted before a Delhi court that speaking up on #MeToo is not a crime and such acts are of extreme courage that requires celebration and not defamation cases.

Senior Advocate Rebecca John, appearing for Ramani in the defamation case filed against her by former Union Minister MJ Akbar, told Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ravindra Kumar Pandey that she felt #MeToo gave a platform to women to unburden themselves.

“#MeToo came to India in 2018. It wasn’t a crime to speak up on the #MeToo platform. These are acts of extreme courage that require celebration. These are not the acts for which one should face defamation,” John said.

She also apprised the court that several people spoke up about past incidents and unburdened themselves. She again questioned Akbar’s reputation and said that many women spoke against former ministers.

Rebecca John said the case against her client Ramani was that she started it and thereafter people went crazy but her defence witness Ghazala Wahab herself said she tweeted on October 6, 2018, earlier than her client tweet.

She reiterated that Ramani spoke the truth in the public interest and good faith. As the hearing remained inconclusive, the court adjourned the matter for December 18.

MJ 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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