#MeToo India: Priya Ramani to appear in Delhi court today in defamation case filed by MJ Akbar

  • Priya Ramani was among at least 18 women who accused MJ Akbar of sexual misconduct during his years as a journalist

  • It was in response to Ramani's October 2017 article in the Vogue, which she re-shared on Twitter in October, that several women revealed their own 'MJ story'

  • Akbar has sued Ramani for 'willfully, deliberately, intentionally and maliciously' defaming him

Journalist Priya Ramani is expected to appear in a Delhi court on Monday in connection with a defamation case filed by former Union minister MJ Akbar over allegations of sexual harassment levelled against him amid the #MeToo movement in India in 2018.

Ramani was among a number of women who had accused Akbar of sexual misconduct during his years as an editor and a journalist. As the list of women coming out with their own "MJ story" became exhaustive, he was forced to resign as the Minister of State for External Affairs on 17 October, 2018.

 #MeToo India: Priya Ramani to appear in Delhi court today in defamation case filed by MJ Akbar

File photos of MJ Akbar and Priya Ramani.

Days before resigning, the journalist-turned-politician had filed a criminal defamation case against Ramani "for making false and defamatory statements in print/electronic media". Akbar accused Ramani of "willfully, deliberately, intentionally and maliciously defaming" him on "wholly and completely false, frivolous, unjustifiable and scandalous grounds", thereby harming his "goodwill and reputation".

It was in response to Ramani's October 2017 article in the Vogue, which she re-shared on Twitter on 8 October around the time when women were sharing their #MeToo stories, that several women spoke up with their own stories of being sexually harassed by Akbar and his relentless advances towards them in the newsroom.

At least 18 women have accused Akbar of sexual harassment when they worked with him during his years as a journalist. The women recounted their ordeals with Akbar right from the 1980s till as recently as in 2010-2011. Their accounts include details of his "predatory tactics" and incidents ranging from sexual harassment, sexism and abuse of power in his capacity as an editor.

On 29 January, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal summoned Ramani to court in the defamation case, after which Ramani tweeted: "Time to tell our side of the story."

As the slew of sexual harassment charges built against Akbar, the Editors Guild of India suspended him from membership until his defamation case against Ramani concluded.

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Updated Date: Feb 25, 2019 08:37:36 IST