Akbar-Ramani Case May Be Transferred Due to SC Directions: Court

ACMM Pahuja said the matter will now be listed before a District and Sessions Judge for further orders.

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Gender
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Akbar had filed a criminal defamation case against Ramani, asserting that Ramani’s allegations were false and that it had cost him his “stellar reputation”.
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Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Vishal Pahuja, on Tuesday, 13 October, informed that, only matters filed against MPs and MLAs can be listed before the Rouse Avenue Court, where the defamation case brought on by MJ Akbar against journalist Priya Ramani was being heard so far. He cited Supreme Court directions as the reason for the same.

ACMM Pahuja further informed that the matter will now be listed before a District and Sessions Judge, on Thursday, for appropriate orders.

If the case is transferred, it can be expected that the final arguments will have to be made all over again.

Incidentally, MJ Akbar’s lawyer Geeta Luthra was going to give her rebuttal, on Tuesday, to to defence counsel Rebecca John’s final arguments.

Ramani’s lawyer Rebecca John quoted US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as she concluded her final arguments in the case, on 19 September.

BACKGROUND

In her arguments, Rebecca John had said that Priya Ramani was being “targeted selectively” to halt the avalanche of allegations against Akbar; and addressed claims of Akbar’s “impeccable reputation.”

“I would like to highlight at this point that the (Vogue) article deals with both Akbar and other male bosses,” Rebecca John had said, beginning her final arguments before a Delhi Court on 5 September.

She also pointed out that Ramani had pleaded “truth” as her defence, “made in good faith, in public interest, and for public good”, and went on to cite exceptions 1 and 9 interlinked with exception 3 to Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code.

In a 2017 article about sexual predators in workplace, written for Vogue, Ramani had described her own ordeal of having been sexually harassed by a former boss. A year later, in the wake of the #MeToo Movement, Ramani had alleged on social media that the former boss had, in fact, been Akbar.

Akbar had subsequently filed a criminal defamation case against Ramani, asserting that Ramani’s allegations were false and that it had cost him his “stellar reputation”.

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