MeToo: Delhi HC Notice To Priya Ramani In MJ Akbar’s Defamation Case Appeal

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The Delhi High Court issued a notice to journalist Priya Ramani on Wednesday, following an appeal by former minister MJ Akbar challenging her acquittal in his defamation case. A hearing in the case has been listed for January 13 next year.

In what was a watershed win for the #MeToo movement in India, Ramani was acquitted on February 17 this year in a two-year-old defamation case filed against her by Akbar, whom she had accused in 2018 of sexually harassing her. The Delhi court pronouncing her acquittal order had empoweringly observed the “right of reputation can’t be protected at the cost of right to dignity.”

A month later, on March 25, Akbar moved the HC against the order.

Submitting that the court acquitting Ramani “erroneously” considered Akbar’s reputation, his counsel argued on Wednesday that the case under Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code was found “defamatory” and that elaborating further in it on Ramani’s accusations of harassment was “unnecessary,” as quoted by Live Law.

Notice To Priya Ramani, Matter Set for Jan 2022: Recalling The Watershed Acquittal

The February verdict in the defamation case upheld several observations in favour of women in #MeToo cases in India. It stated how a woman has the right to put her grievances of harassment forward even after years have passed, that a man in a position of power could be a sexual harasser too, and why society must understand the impact of abuse on survivors.

“Sexual abuse takes away dignity and self confidence”: Court order in Priya Ramani acquittal noted

In an interview with SheThePeople following her acquittal in the defamation case, Ramani said that moment in India’s #MeToo movement was a win for not just her, but women and survivors across India. Speaking about how women knew she was telling the truth, Ramani noted the verdict was important in the way that the conversation around sexual harassment in the country was being shaped. Read the interview here.