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Fresh Arguments Ensued In Delhi Court In MJ Akbar's Defamation Case Against Journalist Priya Ramani

Shreya Agarwal
2 Dec 2020 2:27 PM GMT
Fresh Arguments Ensued In Delhi Court In MJ Akbars Defamation Case Against Journalist Priya Ramani
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Fresh arguments today ensued in former Union Minister MJ Akbar's criminal defamation case against journalist Priya Ramani before the Court of the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Ravindra Kumar Pandey in Delhi today, after the previous judge hearing the matter was transferred.In the previous hearing, the parties had ruled out the possibility of a settlement in the case, with...

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Fresh arguments today ensued in former Union Minister MJ Akbar's criminal defamation case against journalist Priya Ramani before the Court of the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Ravindra Kumar Pandey in Delhi today, after the previous judge hearing the matter was transferred.

In the previous hearing, the parties had ruled out the possibility of a settlement in the case, with Ramani's counsel replying in the negative to the judge's query for compounding.
MJ Akbar, the former Minister of State for the Ministry of External Affairs, had filed a defamation case against Ramani for accusing him of sexual misconduct. He had on October 17, 2018, resigned as the union minister after his name cropped up on social media as the #MeToo campaign raged on in India.
Sr. Adv. Rebecca John appearing for Ramani said that other women had also come out against Akbar by the time of the tweet calling Akbar the "media's biggest sexual predator" but only her case had been singled out merely because he didn't resign on the date of her tweet.
Contesting the witnesses coming in support of Akbar, she proceeded to make out the lack of the elements of Section 499, IPC dealing with criminal defamation, in Akbar's case against Ramani. She pressed that the main 3 elements of defamation under the provision are publication, harm and reputation and while she wasn't disputing publication, the other two were not made out here.
John claimed the defense of Truth, Good Faith, and Public Importance provided for under the exceptions to S.499.
Ramani admitted that while she had posted the tweets and published articles for Vogue as claimed by Akbar in his case against her, however, argues that they were protected by the defense of truth, good faith, and related to public questions.
Arguing that defamation isn't made out against Ramani, John submitted that here evidence had to be dealt with differently and must be examined under set Supreme Court standards and that according to the Supreme Court while the complainant needs to prove his case beyond reasonable doubt, the accused merely needs to meet the threshold of preponderance of probability.
John also argued that in the notice served to her the entire article was highlighted as defamatory and she had taken the defense of truth at the first itself. She said that while on her tweet about Akbar's resignation, Ramani was accused of failure to exercise caution, Akbar was a former editor of an English daily convicted for contempt of Court by the Delhi High Court.
The case is to be heard further on 5th December.


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