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Defamation Case: Priya Ramani And MJ Akbar Reject Settlement

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Journalist Priya Ramani and former Union Minister MJ Akbar refused any settlement between them in a criminal defamation complaint filed by the latter. Ramani had accused Akbar of sexual misconduct during the #MeToo campaign. Reports suggest that neither of the parties is keen to initiate settlement in the criminal case.

During the hearing, Akbar’s advocate suggested that if Ramani was apologetic for her allegations, Akbar might consider closing the complaint. Ramani’s counsel, however, told the court that she stands by her statement. The submissions were made before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ravindra Pandey. On Tuesday, he asked the lawyers, “are the doors shut?” to which Ramani’s lawyer told the court, “Our stand is clear… Ramani stands by her statement. If the complainant wants to withdraw then he may bring it on record.”

Akbar’s lawyer, however, told the court, “If the accused was apologetic. If there was any indication from them, I will ask my briefing counsel.”

The case so far

After multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against him triggered widespread rage in the media industry, Akbar resigned from his post as Union Minister on October 17 in 2018. Meanwhile, Ramani was the first to come out and reveal in an article for Vogue in 2017 that a senior editor had misbehaved with many journalists including her. She later had revealed MJ Akbar’s name on Twitter. “Time to tell our side of the story,” she wrote.

Akbar on October 15, 2018, filed a private criminal defamation complaint against Ramani, saying his name and reputation were tarnished on social media as the #MeToo campaign raged on in India. He had denied the allegations of sexual misconduct and termed the allegations as “false, fabricated and deeply distressing”.

Also Read: Through Her Latest Song, Bindu Subramaniam Supports #MeToo

Following Ramani’s revelations, another journalist, Ghazala Wahab, had opened up and revealed details of how Akbar allegedly abused her in an article in The Wire. Since then, multiple women have spoken about Akbar’salleged sexual misconduct in public. However, he has sued only Priya Ramani. Over 20 women made sexual harassment allegations against the former minister and revealed that the incidences happened when they were working as journalists under him.

The court set the next date of hearing on December 2.

Read More Stories By Ria Das