Begin typing your search above and press return to search.
News Updates

Delhi High Court Admits MJ Akbar's Appeal Against Priya Ramani's Acquittal In Criminal Defamation Case

Suhavi Arya
13 Jan 2022 9:31 AM GMT
Delhi High Court Admits MJ Akbars Appeal Against Priya Ramanis Acquittal In Criminal Defamation Case
x

The Delhi High Court today admitted the appeal preferred by former Union Minister MJ Akbar, against acquittal of journalist PriyaRamani in the criminal defamation case filed by him over the "metoo" sexual harassment allegations made by her.While admitting the appeal, Justice Mukta Gupta remarked that there is no need to argue for the 'need to appeal' as complainants have the right...

The Delhi High Court today admitted the appeal preferred by former Union Minister MJ Akbar, against acquittal of journalist PriyaRamani in the criminal defamation case filed by him over the "metoo" sexual harassment allegations made by her.

While admitting the appeal, Justice Mukta Gupta remarked that there is no need to argue for the 'need to appeal' as complainants have the right to prefer an appeal.

Notice in the appeal was issued in August last year. The matter was adjourned as Advocate Bhavook Chauhan, appearing for Ramani, sought time to file response in the matter. It will come up for hearing in due course. 

Senior Advocates Geeta Luthra and Rajiv Nayar appeared for MJ Akbar.

The criminal defamation case was filed by MJ Akbar in a Delhi Court in October 2018, after he was accused by several women of sexual harassment, following a tweet by Ramani as part of the '#MeToo' movement, revealing that the person referred to as a sexual harasser in an earlier article written by her in 'The Vogue' was Akbar.

"Woman can't be punished for raising her voice against sex abuse, Right to reputation can't be protected at the cost of right to dignity," the trial Court had observed while acquitting Priya Ramani last year.

In his appeal, the former Union Minister has claimed that the Trial Court had erred in acquitting Ramani, even after coming to a finding that her tweets were defamatory in nature.

"On one hand, while the impugned judgement itself states that the article written by the Accused, which was subsequently linked to the Complainant, was defamatory, and simultaneously rejects the defence of the Accused that only part of the article applied to the Complainant and the remainder did not, it ultimately acquits the Accused. It would follow that the Accused, once her argument is rejected and her publication is held to be defamatory, would be convicted. However, the Ld. Trial Court, even after holding as above, has acquitted the Accused, without providing adequate reasons for such acquittal," the appeal states.

It adds,

"Trial Court has committed a grave error in basing its judgement on the possibility of a defence in favour of the Respondent. It is well established that an acquittal in a defamation case, based on the possibility of a defence is bad in law; indeed, precedent states that if there is any doubt as to whether the defamatory statement is true or not, there is no defence at all and that no protection extends to an Accused if a defamatory statement merely 'may' be true. Acquitting the Respondent on the basis of the possibility of a defence, therefore, is an apparent error and ought not be upheld."

Case Title: MJ Akbar v. Priya Ramani, Crl. A. 143/2021

Next Story