Journalist Priya Ramani on Monday got bail in the criminal defamation case filed against her by former Union minister MJ Akbar. He had sued her for defamation after several women, including Ramani, accused Akbar of sexual misconduct during his years as an editor and a journalist amid the #MeToo movement in India.
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 at least 18 women came out their own encounters with Akbar and his relentless advances towards them in the newsroom.
On Monday, Ramani told reporters that truth is her only defence as she waits to tell her side of the story to the court.
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. Days before resigning, the journalist-turned-politician had sued Ramani "for making false and defamatory statements in print/electronic media".
On Monday, Ramani appeared before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal, who had summoned her in the case on 29 January.
Senior Advocate Rebecca John, representing Ramani in court, moved a bail plea as the hearing commenced. She pointed out that in a complaint case, the complainant should be present in court as well, he Akbar was not there. Ramani then got bail on a surety of Rs 10,000, after which John, on Ramani's behalf, and moved an application for exemption from personal appearance in the case.
Journalist Siddharth Varadarajan, who accompanied Ramani to the hearing, tweeted that he and others who spoke out against sexual harassment at the workplace, stand in complete solidarity with Ramani as he shared a picture of him and other journalists present in the court on Monday, to support Ramani.
— Siddharth (@svaradarajan) February 25, 2019
Many senior journalists, including Nidhi Razdan, Rajdeep Sardesai, Suhasini Haider and Javed Mansari, were present in court on Monday. The next hearing in the Ramani versus Akbar defamation case is scheduled for 10 April.
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Updated Date: Feb 25, 2019 13:30:14 IST