#MeToo; MJ Akbar defamation case hearing updates: Delhi court's next hearing on 31 Oct, ex-minister to be present

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#MeToo; MJ Akbar defamation case hearing updates: Delhi court's next hearing on 31 Oct, ex-minister to be present
  • 14:37 (IST)

    MJ Akbar to remain present for next hearing

    The court has taken cognisance of Akbar's complaint and fixed 31 October as the date to hear the matter further and for submission of due evidence. MJ Akbar will have to appear in person to record pre-summoning evidence. 

  • 14:34 (IST)

    Patiala Court fixes 31 October as next date of hearing

    The Delhi court has fixed 31 October as the next date to hear the case. The court will examine the complainant and summon evidence in the case. 

  • 14:30 (IST)

    MJ Akbar credible person with known reputation, says ex-minister's lawyer

    In order to prove that there has been a loss of goodwill and reputation of her client, lawyer Geeta Luthra cites MJ Akbar's credentials as a noted journalist and author. She read out the editorial positions held by him thus far and says, "This shows that this person has a good reputation, which has been tarnished."

  • 14:27 (IST)

    Tweets by Priya Ramani clearly defamatory in nature, says Geeta Luthra

    MJ Akbar's lawyer has argued that the allegations have been made years after the alleged incidents took place. She talks about the number of retweets  and likes, Ramani's tweet naming Akbar recieved to prove there was widespread dissemination of the defamatory material. 

    She said, "The Washington Post picked up these tweets and other publications including Firstpost. So there are not just tweets but now there are news stories by major publications."

  • 14:23 (IST)

    MJ Akbar's lawyer names Firstpost, two other publications to point out Priya Ramani's tweets caused defamation 

    MJ Akbar's counsel Geeta Luthra cited Firstpost, Livemint, and The Washington Post reports to claim that Priya ramani's tweet has caused damage to her client's reputation. According to the criminal defamation law, the first condition for a plea to be admissible is to prove that the defamatory statement must be published. The matter should be published in either written or oral form so as to establish that someone knows or have heard about it. 

  • 14:17 (IST)

    Geeta Luthra represents ex-minister, Rebecca John counsel for defendant Priya Ramani

    Senior Delhi High Court lawyer Geeta Luthra, who was also the counsel of journalist Tarun Tejpal in a sexual assault case against him, is representing MJ Akbar. Defendant Priya Ramani is represented by noted lawyer Rebecca John.  

  • 14:12 (IST)

    Hearing begins in MJ Akbar defamation case

    The hearing has started in the MJ Akbar defamation case. Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal, who is hearing the matter, is reading out the defamation complaint filed by MJ Akbar.  

  • 13:59 (IST)

    #Recap: Delay in relaying allegations, absence of formal complaint shows all claims are false, claims MJ Akbar in defamation suit plea

    • 20 yrs delay in making salacious imputations shows malafide intent: The petition claims that the woman journalist, while putting forward the allegations relating to incidents which allegedly occurred 20 years ago, "intentionally put forward malicious, fabricated, and salacious imputations to harm the reputation of the complainant".
    • Lack of legal complaint shows all allegations false: The conduct of the accused person, of not taking any action before any authority, qua the alleged incident against the complainant also clearly belies the sanctity of the article and allegations made by the accused person, which evidently goes on to prove that the said defamatory articles are only a figment of her imagination. 

  • 13:49 (IST)

    Lawyer Geeta Luthra appearing for MJ Akbar in trial court

    Senior advocate Geeta Luthra will represent MJ Akbar in the defamation case filed by him against journalist Priya Ramani, ET Now reported. 

  • 13:48 (IST)

    Judge Samar Vishal no stranger to high profile defamation suits, constant media glare

    Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal, the judge who will hear the criminal defamation case filed by former Union minister MJ Akbar against journaist Priya Ramani, is no stranger to handling high profile cases that elicit unusual media scrutiny. 

    According to News18Judge Vishal, known for his calm and composed demeanour, has has handled a defamation case Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal as well. The judge at the Patiala House Courts complex had also disallowed a request for a polygraph test on students of JNU during the investigation into the mysterious disappearance of JNU student Najeed Ahmad.

    Judge Vishal is also hearing the controversial case relating to Sunanda Pushkar's alleged suicide, in which Congress lawmaker Shashi Tharoor is an accused. 

  • 13:41 (IST)

    MJ Akbar defamation case hearing to begin at 2 pm

    MJ Akbar has dragged Priya Ramani, the first among some 20 odd woman journalists to call him out under the #MeToo cammpaign. He has accused Ramani of "intentionally putting forward malicious, fabricated and salacious" allegations to harm his reputation. The criminal defamation suit is listed for hearing a around 2 pm in a Delhi Court. 

  • 11:58 (IST)

    Editors' Guild asks ex-minister to drop defamation case

    The Editors' Guild of India has asked MJ Akbar to drop the criminal defamation case against Priya Ramani, the first woman journalists who named him in the #MeToo movement. The guild urged Akbar not to use the draconian law, especially as a veteran journalist. However, if Akbar choses not to withdraw the case, the editors' body offered support to Ramani and any other woman who faces a legal battle against Akbar in future. 

  • 11:12 (IST)

     Sexual assault and harassment have become the norm due to a culture built on toxic masculinity

    As Indians contemplate the accounts of sexual assault survivors emerging from the #MeToo movement, it is hard not be struck by one central feature: a bizarre, even pathological, sense of entitlement. 

    In their own imagination, these men clearly believed themselves to be sexually irresistible. The thing is, it is not just these men. Such behaviour — along with the lewd comment, the demand for sex, the penis rubbed against the body — are part of the everyday experience of women on India’s streets, public transport and homes. The alleged behaviour of an Akbar or a Das isn't deviance; it is the norm. 

    Read the full article here

  • 10:58 (IST)

    Delay in relaying allegations, absence of formal complaint shows all claims are false, claims MJ Akbar in defamation suit plea

    • 20 yrs delay in making salacious imputations shows malafide intent: The petition claims that the woman journalist, while putting forward the allegations relating to incidents which allegedly occurred 20 years ago, "intentionally put forward malicious, fabricated, and salacious imputations to harm the reputation of the complainant".
    • Lack of legal complaint shows all allegations false: The conduct of the accused person, of not taking any action before any authority, qua the alleged incident against the complainant also clearly belies the sanctity of the article and allegations made by the accused person, which evidently goes on to prove that the said defamatory articles are only a figment of her imagination. 

  • 10:46 (IST)

    MJ Akbar's defamation suit: Serious damage to reputation, malafide intentions amid key submission's in ex-editor's plea

    • All allegations malafide, motivated: "Whilst it is apparent that the accused has resorted to a series of maliciously serious allegations which she is diabolically and viciously spreading in media, it is also apparent that false narrative against the complainant (Akbar) is being circulated in a motivated manner for the fulfilment of an agenda," it alleged.
    • Serious damage to reputation: Akbar's petition termed as "scandalous" the allegations made by Ramani and said "very tone and tenor" are "ex-facie defamatory" and they have not only damaged his goodwill and reputation in his social circle but also affected Akbar's reputation in "the community, friends, family and colleagues" and caused "irreparable loss" and "tremendous distress".

  • 10:30 (IST)

    Priya Ramani says truth her only defence in law suit, but Draconian law only allows exception for truth uttered for 'public good'

  • 10:10 (IST)

    Minhaz Merchant questions Congress' muted response to MJ Akbar row, cites Rajiv Gandhi links as reason

  • 10:02 (IST)

    Armed with a fleet of 97 lawyers, MJ Akbar approaches court with defamation suit; matter listed for 2 pm 

    Akbar on Monday filed the complaint against Ramani alleging she "wilfully" and "maliciously" made imputations against him with the ulterior motive of maligning his reputation and political standing. However, the detail that stood out was that the vakalatnama had the names of 97 advocates, a move that the law firm claim was routine. 

    The matter is listed in Delhi's Patiala House Court for today at 2.00 pm additional chief metropolitan magistrate Samar Vishal. 

  • 09:43 (IST)

    Political parties hail Akbar's resignation: Congress calls it victory of truth, Left parties say better late than never

    The Congress and the Left parties Wednesday hailed the resignation of union minister M J Akbar following charges of sexual harassment and dared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speak up now.

     
     
    While the Congress termed the resignation as "victory of truth", it asked whether the prime minister will dare to speak up now. The Left parties said Akbar's resignation was a victory for the #MeToo movement and the protests carried out by them against the journalist-turned-politician. 
     
     
    The CPI and the women's wing of CPI-M, however, said Akbar should have resigned early and the action has come "too late". The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said this was insufficient and sought criminal proceedings against Akbar.

  • 09:31 (IST)

    Sheer number of women outing Akbar changed Modi's attitude towards controversy

    As number of women who levelled sexual harassment allegations against Akbar kept on increasing, the startled prime minister moved on Tuesday to review his position. It appeared," said an official familiar with the discussions, “that they were totally unprepared for how many women would come out with credible allegations against the minister. 

    National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, the sources said, had been dispatched to gain a clear understanding from the minister of how many women were likely to offer testimony in the case, and what the content of their allegations would be. Akbar, according to the sources, gave no clear account of either the numbers of women involved, or their possible testimony.

    Following this meeting, Doval returned to the prime minister, and laid out the potential outcomes for the government: that ever-larger numbers of women would testify against a minister the government was seen as defending, adding to the embarrassment.

  • 09:08 (IST)

    Govt's early intervention would have been satisfying, but better late than never, says Ghazala Wahab

    Ghazala Wahab, executive editor of the magazine Force and one of the journalists who had accused Union Minister MJ Akbar of sexual harassment said that she felt vindicated by Akbar's resignation, but the move should have come three days back. She also said that Akbar should now withdraw his defamation case.  

    “I don’t know whether it was an unwarranted delay on part of the BJP. But yes, this could have happened on Sunday; it would have been nicer, more satisfying. Better late than never," she told The Quint.

  • 09:01 (IST)

    Narendra Modi, Sushma Swaraj did not meet Akbar since MeToo allegations surfaced

    Some reports, quoting highly placed sources in the government confirmed that the final decision on Akbar's ouster came from the PMO​. However, the decision was informally communicated to Akbar via other channels, and neither Prime Minister Narendra Modi, nor External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met Akbar since his return to India, Mumbai Mirror reported.

    Another report in Livemint claimed that though work-related matters compelled Akbar to sit with foreign minister Sushma Swaraj for official meetings in the ministry, there was no specific meeting on the allegations against Akbar.

  • 08:43 (IST)

    Sangh Parivar may have been behind Modi govt's decision to drop Akbar?

    There are many a theories floating around as to what led to the resignation of Akbar, who until recently, had ruled out the possibility. While NDTV reported the decision was Akbar's own, some other reports said he was eased out of his ministerial post under instructions from the PMO.

    According to Mumbai Mirror Akbar was asked resign on the eve of the Vijayadashami address by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat. The party sources said there was a worry that Bhagwat may make unpleasant observations about Akbar’s continuation in the government. The Sangh was not keen on Akbar continuing in office even for a day after his return, the sources said. Significantly, Dattatreya Hosabale, the joint general secretary, had endorsed an article by an ABVP activist calling for Akbar’s ouster last week.

  • 08:33 (IST)

    Want to fight 'spiced up innuendo', 'lies' in personal capacity, says MJ Akbar

    The 67-year-old journalist-turned-politician issued a brief statement, saying he will seek justice in a court of law in his personal capacity. He said that it was appropriate for him to resign as minister and then fight the lies spread against him. 

    "I deem it appropriate to step down from office and challenge false accusations levied against me, also in a personal capacity. I have, therefore, tendered my resignation from the office of MoS for external affairs. I am deeply grateful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for the opportunity they gave me to serve my country,” Akbar said

  • 08:24 (IST)

    MJ Akbar's resignation welcomed by journalist Suparna Sharma

    Resident editor of The Asian Age newspaper Suparna Sharma, who also came out against Akbar, said she welcomes the resignation. "It is a big moment for us. In a sense I feel vindicated. Though the step should have been taken as soon as he landed in Delhi but now at least there would not be a power imbalance and it wouldn't be a fight between the government and Ramani."

  • 08:15 (IST)

    Ex-foreign secy Nirupama Roy speaks in support of MeToo activists, says Akbar's continuation as minister was untenable

    Former foreign secretary Nirupama Rao also expressed happiness at the development and said his "continuation was untenable and indefensible". 

  • 08:09 (IST)

    Resignation from post was MJ Akbar's idea, will continue to be part of BJP, say govt sources

    The decision to step down as Union Minister of State, External Affairs Ministry, was Akbar's own and he may still remain a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party, NDTV quoted anonymous sources in the government as saying. 

    The news portal also reported that Akbar's resignation may only be a one off case, and is unlikely to set any sort of a precedent. 

  • 08:00 (IST)

    Union minister Ramdas Athawale says MJ Akbar did the right thing in stepping down 

    Union minister Ramdas Athawale called it a "right decision" taken by Akbar and said that the allegations against him should be properly investigated. "Opposition was asking him to resign on moral grounds. This is a right decision taken by him. The allegations on him should be properly investigated," Athawale told reporters on Wednesday night. 

  • 07:54 (IST)

    'Devi Durga slays the demon' Saba Naqvi reacts to MJ Akbar stepping down after #MeToo allegations 

    Journalist Saba Naqvi, one of the women to have accused Akbar of sexual misconduct, congratulated other victims of the former journalist's predatory behaviour. Naqvi took to Twitter to welcome the move. 

  • 07:40 (IST)

    '#MeToo movement corrupts India's pure soul' Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan's bizarre reaction to women's movement

    BJP leader and Union Minister of State for Finance and Shipping Pon Radhakrishnan on Wednesday said that the ‘#MeToo’ movement was started by individuals with perverted minds.

    "This is the result of the activities of some people with perverted minds. This corrupts the purity of our land. This issue corrupts the honour of our women. This is not a good thing," The Hindu quoted him as saying. 

    “You and I work with women. What if someone makes an accusation against you, alleging that something happened when you were playing together while in the fifth standard? Will you accept it? How is it justice? If men start [something similar], how insulting will it be? They can make such allegations against any woman. This cannot be accepted,” Radhakrishnan added.

  • 07:35 (IST)

    Vindicated by MJ Akbar's resignation, says Priya Ramani, the journo who was first to call out former minister

    Reacting to MJ Akbar's resignation, journalist Priya Ramani, one of the 16 women who called out Akbar on Twitter for sexual harassment, welcomed the news of his resignation and said she feels vindicated.  

  • 07:25 (IST)

    We're happy MJ Akbar did correct thing, expect him to drop bogus defamation case, say 20 scribes backing Priya Ramani

    After MJ Akbar announced his decision to quit as the junior external affairs minister on Wednesday, 20 of his former women colleagues—who previously wrote a petition describing his behaviour and condemning his alleged sexual advances —issued a joint statement welcoming the move. 

    "We are happy that Mr Akbar finally did the correct thing, and in the light of all that has emerged in the last couple of days, expect that he will also drop the bogus criminal defamation case against Priya Ramani," the women said in a joint statement. 

  • 07:20 (IST)

    #MeToo effect: Centre to form panel to identify lacunae in sexual harassment laws

    As the #MeToo movement rages on in India, the government is set to form a group of ministers to look into the lacunae in the existing law on sexual harassment, official sources said Wednesday. They added that the group of ministers will be notified "soon".

    Earlier, there were indications that the panel could be headed by a senior women Cabinet minister but now, the sources said, it could be headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh. PTI

  • 07:08 (IST)

    MJ Akbar steps down as junior minister in MEA on eve of defamation case hearing 

    Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar stepped down Wednesday in the face of mounting pressure following a spate of allegations of sexual harassment against him by several women journalists, who welcomed his resignation as a "vindication".

     
    The 67-year-old journalist-turned-politician's sudden announcement to quit came a day ahead of hearing of a criminal defamation complaint filed by him against Priya Ramani, a journalist who has accused him of sexual misconduct around 20 years ago.

#MeToo; MJ Akbar defamation case hearing LATEST updates: The court has taken cognisance of Akbar's complaint and fixed 31 October as the date to hear the matter further and for submission of due evidence. MJ Akbar will have to appear in person to record pre-summoning evidence

MJ Akbar's counsel Geeta Luthra cited Firstpost, Livemint, and The Washington Post reports to claim that Priya ramani's tweet has caused damage to her client's reputation. According to the criminal defamation law, the first condition for a plea to be admissible is to prove that the defamatory statement must be published. The matter should be published in either written or oral form so as to establish that someone knows or have heard about it.

 

Former union minister MJ Akbar will not be present in the Delhi court today. He will be represented by senior lawyer Geeta Luthra.

Former union minister MJ Akbar’s criminal defamation complaint filed against journalist Priya Ramani – the first woman journalist to speak out against him on sexual harassment charges – will come up for hearing in a Delhi court Thursday at around 2 pm.

The Editors' Guild of India has asked MJ Akbar to drop the criminal defamation case against Priya Ramani, the first woman journalists who named him in the #MeToo movement.

File image of MJ Akbar. News18

File image of MJ Akbar. News18

Akbar on Monday filed the complaint against Priya Ramani , the first woman to call him out, alleging she "wilfully" and "maliciously" made imputations against him with the ulterior motive of maligning his reputation and political standing. However, the detail that stood out was that the vakalatnama had the names of 97 advocates, a move that the law firm claim was routine.

As number of women who levelled sexual harassment allegations against Akbar kept on increasing, the startled prime minister moved on Tuesday to review his position. It appeared," said an official familiar with the discussions, “that they were totally unprepared for how many women would come out with credible allegations against the minister. 

MJ Akbar, who is facing multiple sex harassment charges, said: "I deem it is appropriate to step down from office and challenge false accusations levied against me, also in a personal capacity."

MJ Akbar was asked resign on the eve of the Vijayadashami address by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat as the BJP was worried that Bhagwat may make some unsavoury comments about Akbar continuing as minister which may embarrass the government.

The decision to step down as Union Minister of State, External Affairs Ministry, was Akbar's own and he may still remain a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party, and the Rajya Sabha, say reports.

After MJ Akbar announced his decision to quit as the junior external affairs minister on Wednesday, 20 of his former women colleagues—who previously wrote a petition describing his behaviour and condemning his alleged sexual advances —issued a joint statement welcoming the move. They said now that he has quit from his government post, they also expect him to drop the case.

President Ram Nath Kovind Wednesday accepted the resignation of MJ Akbar from the Union council of ministers on the advice of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Rashtrapati Bhavan said.

Akbar stepped down as Minister of State for External Affairs following a spate of allegations of sexual harassment during his days as editor of several publications.

"The President of India, as advised by the Prime Minister, has accepted the resignation of MJ Akbar from the Union Council of Ministers, with immediate effect, under clause (2) of Article 75 of the Constitution," the Rashtrapati Bhavan statement said.

Earlier, Modi had accepted Akbar's resignation. According to the established procedure, the resignation was then sent to the President.

In a brief statement, Akbar said he has decided to quit so that he can seek justice in a court of law in his personal capacity.


Updated Date: Oct 18, 2018 16:26 PM

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