MJ Akbar in defamation case: Priya Ramani had no proof for accusation

Tanvi Sinha

The Court of the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Rouse Avenue heard the defamation suit against Priya Ramani, concerning the allegedly defamatory remarks she made about former Minister of External Affairs in October 2020 amidst a #MeToo movement.

Senior Advocate Geeta Luthra, representing Akbar mentioned that there needs to be a cause of action to complaint, however there was an absence of the same.

Advocate Luthra spoke about Ramani calling Akbar, the ‘media’s biggest predator’ and states that if such an allegation is to be levelled on someone, they need to show evidence and investigation to back that statement up.

She also said that the defense had stated that they did not have a recourse when the incident had happened as there were no laws about harassment against women in the workplace (referring to the Vishakha Laws) but states that she did in fact had a recourse in the Indian Penal Code that has existed since.

She also pointed out that in all these years his reputation and image was extremely pure and the same was stated by every witness in court and expressed shock at how the power of pen could lead a person to be called a predator.

She stated that the elements of defamation were all there, with the matter of publication clear, the dissemination clear and lowering of reputation clear as well. Hence making it a defamation case.

The matter was adjourned, and the next hearing is set at January 18th 2021.

In the last hearing concerning the matter, on January 12th, the main argument Adv. Luthra took was to show how Ramani had no proof of her statement and had hence come to the internet to say such things and not the reliefs given to her by law.

Luthra had also contended that the two had not met at all, as she claimed there was no proof of the two meeting.

Ramani, came out in October 2018 with her allegations, when Akbar was still the minister and she was not the only woman who came out with sexual harassment allegations against Akbar, in fact the number of women who alleged sexual harassment happen to be around 20, all from different parts of the world.