5 Sep 2020 3:06 PM GMT
After a long period of more than 6 months, the hearing in MJ Akbar's defamation case against journalist Priya Ramani resumed today with Senior Advocate Rebecca M John commencing her final arguments on behalf of Ramani. Before the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vishal Pahuja, Ms John clarified at the outset that Ramani admits that she did write the Vogue article and...
After a long period of more than 6 months, the hearing in MJ Akbar's defamation case against journalist Priya Ramani resumed today with Senior Advocate Rebecca M John commencing her final arguments on behalf of Ramani.
Before the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vishal Pahuja, Ms John clarified at the outset that Ramani admits that she did write the Vogue article and the tweets on the basis of Akbar filed a defamation complaint against her.
'Ramani's Vogue article is her truth, she stands by her story', Ms John submitted.
Ms John started her arguments by giving a recap of the proceedings that have taken place in this case so far. She read out the entire complaint against Ramani as well as apprised the judge of the content of the impugned Vogue Article - 'Harvey Weinsteins' Of The World, We'll Get You' - and the subsequent tweets calling out Akbar under the #MeToo movement.
[Senior Advocate Rebecca John]
It was categorically stated by Ms John that while it is an admitted fact that Ramani penned the said article, it must also be clarified that the entire article is not about Akbar. She said:
'Only the first 4 paragraphs of the article refer to Akbar. The rest of the paragraphs are about male bosses in general.'
Ms John further informed the court that the article was written in the context of the #MeToo movement that had started in the USA where many actresses had called out Harvey Weinstein for his multiple instances of sexual misconduct.
Subsequently, Ms John read out the ingredients as well as the exceptions to the offence of defamation as prescribed under section 499 of the Indian Penal Code. She argued that while it's true that an imputation was made by Ramani against Akbar, the said imputation does not amount to defamation as it was made in good faith and in public interest.
Further, the court was also informed that multiple female journalists had come out at the same time sharing how they were sexually harassed by Akbar.
'Ghazala Wahab had written an article in The Wire detailing how she was sexually harassed by Akbar. Many other female journalists tweeted about their experiences', Ms John argued.
Ms John also kept on referring to the statements made by Akbar in his cross-examination to point out the inconsistencies therein and challenge the veracity of his claims. She submitted:
'Mr Akbar had said in his cross examination that he was not aware of the fact that the High Court had issued a contempt notice against him when he was the Editor of the Asian Age for misreporting the court proceedings. He also denied knowing the fact that he had tendered an apology letter to the court.'
Ms John will continue with the rest of her arguments on September 08.