MJ Akbar Did Not Approach Court With Clean Hands, Says Priya Ramani During #MeToo Hearing

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Journalist Priya Ramani, during the final hearing in the #MeToo case involving MJ Akbar at a Delhi court, said on Friday that the former Union Minister did not approach the court with clean hands when he filed a defamation complaint against her. Represented by advocate Rebecca John, Ramani made her final submissions on December 18 with regard to the allegations against Akbar of sexual misconduct from 20 years ago. Her issue first came to public light during India’s #MeToo wave in 2018.

According to Bar & Bench, John, while representing Ramani in court, accused Akbar of misbehaving with several other women in the past. She was quoted saying, “These women did not know each other. An individual who a senior editor and a Minister at that time, was there no obligation on him to state that there were other allegations against him, that Priya Ramani was not an isolated incident.”

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Priya Ramani Tells Court: ‘Plead Truth As My Defense’

Ramani, during one of the hearings in December, told the court that her disclosure about alleged sexual misconduct by Akbar was made in good faith and for the public good. Arguing for Ramani, John said during Friday’s hearing, “The failure of Mr Akbar in mentioning the allegations by other women, and pretending that only Ramani’s statement defamed him… Mr Akbar has not come to court with clean hands and failed a fraud on the court.”

Recently, it was reported that both Ramani and Akbar refused any settlement between them.

Also Read: MJ Akbar vs Priya Ramani: Delhi Court hears final arguments

Background on the case

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.

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