"Watershed Moment": Women Say Priya Ramani's Acquittal In MJ Akbar Case Is Historic

The Priya Ramani acquittal has drawn a resounding reaction from women on social media who are hailing this as a watershed moment for India's #MeToo movement.

Tanvi Akhauri
Feb 17, 2021 10:16 IST
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Reactions pour in after Priya Ramani acquittal: A Delhi court Wednesday acquitted Priya Ramani in the defamation case filed against her by MJ Akbar, concluding the two-year-old legal battle between the two journalists. The judgment contended that "sexual abuse takes away dignity and self-confidence" and that a man of Akbar's stature too could be a harasser. 


Ramani, between 2017 and 2018 had made allegations of sexual harassment against Akbar, prompting several other women, including journalists, to level similar charges against him. Akbar, denying all #MeToo allegations, on October 15, 2018, filed a private criminal defamation complaint against Ramani, claiming his name and reputation were tarnished. 

Priya Ramani Acquittal Hailed As A Landmark Moment

The Delhi court observed that "a woman has right to put her grievance even after decades" and noted that "Even a man of social status can be a sexual harasser." 


When Ramani’s #MeToo allegations came to light, the movement against harassment and abuse of women was still in its nascent stages in India.

That the journalist took on a figure as powerful as Akbar is being hailed as a watershed moment in India’s feminist movement. Prominent women, from various fields especially journalism, have reacted to the Priya Ramani acquittal news on social media. 

Here are some reactions: 

Background To The Case

In 2017, via an article, Ramani had revealed that a senior editor had sexually harassed her at an interview in 1993. A year later, in 2018, she took MJ Akbar’s name in connection to her allegations. “Time to tell our side of the story,” she had written on Twitter.

Following Ramani’s revelations, another journalist, Ghazala Wahab, had opened up and revealed details of how Akbar allegedly abused her, elaborating in an article.

Since then, multiple women have spoken about Akbar’s alleged sexual misconduct in public. Among them, journalists include Sutapa Paul, Suparna Sharma, and internationally, Ruth David and Majlie de Puy Kamp.

Amid building rage and widespread social media backlash, Akbar resigned from his post as Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs on October 17 in 2018.

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