A Delhi court is set to pronounce its verdict in the former Union Minister M.J. Akbar’s criminal defamation complaint against journalist Priya Ramani for her tweets accusing him of sexual harassment, on Wednesday.
The legal battle spanning over two years has been closely watched for it implications, primarily on the social movement #MeToo, where thousands of women have used social media platforms to share instances of sexual harassment they faced in the past.
At the height of the #MeToo movement in 2018, Ms. Ramani accused Mr. Akbar of sexual harassment. Following Ms. Ramani’s accusation, about a dozen former colleagues of Mr. Akbar also came out with different allegations against him.
In response, Mr. Akbar filed a criminal defamation case against Ms. Ramani in October 2018, days before he resigned from his post of Minister of State for External Affairs. Mr. Akbar has claimed that Ms. Ramani’s tweet and her article accusing him of sexual harassment were defamatory, and lowered his reputation. He has also said that Ms. Ramani didn’t produce any evidence to prove her story.
However, Ms. Ramani pleaded truth as her defence to the allegations of sexual harassment against Mr. Akbar. She said her tweet and subsequent article on Vogue magazine alleging Mr. Akbar of sexual harassment during his previous role as newspaper editor was made in ‘good faith’ and for ‘public good’.
Ms. Ramani has maintained that the criminal case was initiated to create a chilling effect against women who spoke out about their experience of sexual harassments at his hands.