New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: A Delhi court is expected to pronounce its verdict on former Union Minister MJ Akbar's criminal defamation complaint against the journalist, Priya Ramani, over her allegations of sexual harassment against the former minister. The court had reserved its judgement on February 1 after both the parties had completed their arguments.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Ravindra Kumar, had on February 1 also deferred the matter till February 10. However, on February 10, the court again deferred the judgement till February 17 citing that both, Priya Ramani and MJ Akbar filed their written submissions late and the verdict was not complete.

The matter pertains to the allegations of sexual harassment against former Union Minister MJ Akbar by Priya Ramani in wake of the #MeToo movement in 2018. However, Akbar had filed criminal defamation against Priya Ramani in October 2018 for allegedly defaming by accusing him of sexual misconduct decades ago.

Akbar also resigned as the Union Minister in October 2018 and denied all allegations levelled by all the women against him during the #MeToo movement. Over 20 women came up with accounts of the alleged sexual harassment by Akbar while they were working as journalists under him. He termed the allegations false, fabricated and deeply distressing and said he was taking appropriate legal action against them.

MJ Akbar during the hearing in January told the court that that false, defamatory statement by journalist Priya Ramani against him alleging sexual misconduct led other persons and the media repeating them.

"False, defamatory statement by her lead to repeat by other persons and media. She started this. That's why immediately after my coming back I (Akbar) made the complaint against her. Due process was available to women and that Ramani had no desire to go for due process", MJ Akbar told the court through his lawyer Geeta Luthra.

"There was no interest in due process. It is much easier to malign someone, defame someone on social media. It is impermissible", MJ Akbar's lawyer added.

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan