Mumbai: A Delhi Court on Wednesday acquitted journalist Priya Ramani in the criminal defamation case filed by former Union Minister MJ Akbar over the sexual harassment allegations levelled by her.
The decision, which was initially to be heard at 2 pm on Wednesday, delayed the decision after the judge required correct correction.
Judge Ravindra Kumar Pandey said, “Right of reputation can’t be protected at the cost of right to dignity. ”
The court said, “The time has come for our society to understand that sometimes a victim cannot speak for years due to mental trauma. A woman cannot be punished for voicing her against sexual abuse.”
The court said that Article 21 and the right to equality have been given to every citizen under the Constitution of India and said that Ramani has the right to “place his case in any form of his choice”.
The court showed sympathy for the victims of sexual abuse and said, “The social stigma attached to the allegations. Society must understand the impact of sexual abuse and harassment on its victims.”
The court said, “The court accepts Ramani’s argument that Akbar’s claim to prestige was demolished by Ghazla Wahab’s testimony, which was also sexually abused by Akbar.”
In the year 2018, Ramani accused MJ Akbar of sexual harassment during the #MeToo movement. Ramani alleged that in December 1993, Akbar sexually harassed her when she called him to a Mumbai hotel for an interview.