MJ Akbar-Priya Ramani Defamation Trial Nears End, Order On 10 Feb

The trial has gone on for nearly two years, final arguments and rebuttals by the lawyers got over on 1 February.

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Gender
2 min read
The trial has gone on for nearly two years, but the final arguments and rebuttals by the lawyers got over on 1 February.
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A Delhi court on Monday, 1 February, reserved judgment in a criminal defamation case filed against journalist Priya Ramani by former Union Minister MJ Akbar, with the court setting 10 February for pronouncement of its order.

The arguments in the long-running criminal defamation trial brought by Akbar against Ramani were almost concluded on Wednesday, 27 January, with strong arguments by Ramani’s lawyer, senior advocate Rebecca John.

The defamation case against Ramani relates to an article in Vogue in October 2017 in which she alleged that a famous media person (unnamed in the article at the time) had behaved inappropriately at her job interview conducted at the Oberoi Hotel in 1993, as well as a subsequent tweet in October 2018, which clarified that she was referring to Akbar in the beginning of the article.

The trial has gone on for nearly two years, but the final arguments and rebuttals by the lawyers over on 1 February.

As this is a criminal defamation trial, the arguments for the prosecution are led by lawyers for the complainant – in this case, Akbar, the veteran news editor and former Union minister. Senior advocate Geeta Luthra, appearing once again for him, had wrapped up her rebuttals to the defence’s main arguments earlier on Wednesday.

Akbar claims that Ramani’s article and tweet together caused tremendous damage to his reputation, which was a stellar one built over his decades of work in journalism and politics.

Ramani, however, argues that it is clear in both the article she wrote and the tweet in 2018 that she had only ever claimed that the beginning of the article was about Akbar specifically – the other references were in fact to the “species” of male bosses who preyed on subordinates.

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