New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: A Delhi Court on Wednesday acquitted journalist Priya Ramani in the criminal defamation case filed by former Union Minister MJ Akbar over her allegations of sexual misconduct against him. The court, while acquitting Ramani, said that 'woman has the right to put her grievance even after decades'. 

"It can't be ignored that most times sexual harassment is committed behind closed doors... Most of the women who suffer abuse can't often speak up due to stigma and attack on their character," the court said. 

"The social stigma attached to the allegations... society must understand the impact of sexual abuse and harassment on its victims. Even a man of (high) social status (standing) can be a sexual harasser", the court further said while acquitting Priya Ramani of all charges. 

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ravindra Kumar had reserved its judgement on February 1 after both the parties had completed their arguments. 

The court's order came after former Union Minister MJ Akbar had filed a defamation case against journalist Priya Ramani after she accused the minister of sexual misconduct in wake of the #MeToo movement in 2018. Akbar, in his complaint, said that Priya Ramani had defamed him by accusing him of sexual harassment decades ago. 

MJ Akbar told the court that false, defamatory statement by journalist Priya Ramani against him alleging sexual misconduct led other persons and the media repeating them. Priya Ramani, on the other hand, contested these claims, pleaded truth as her defence and said that she made allegations in good faith, public interest, and for the public good.

In 2017, Ramani wrote an article for the Vogue where she described her ordeal of being sexually harassed by a former boss during her job interview for his publication. One year later, she revealed that the person alluded to as harasser in the article was M.J. Akbar. Over 20 women came up with accounts of the alleged sexual harassment by Akbar while they were working as journalists under him.

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan