New Delhi, Feb 17: A Delhi court on Wednesday acquitted journalist Priya Ramani in former Union Minister M.J. Akbar’s criminal defamation case against her over allegations of sexual harassment, saying a woman had the right to put grievances before any platform of her choice even after decades.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ravindra Kumar Pandey dismissed the complaint filed by Akbar saying that no charges were proved against Ramani.
The glass ceiling will not prevent Indian women as a roadblock in advancement in society of equal opportunities, it said.
“The woman has the right to put her grievances at any platform of her choice and even after decades,” the court. The court further said that right of reputation cannot be protected at the cost of right to dignity. “Women cannot be punished for raising (their) voice against sexual abuse on the pretext of complaint of defamation,” it said.
Reacting to the verdict, Ramani said that it felt great to have the truth validated before the court.
“It was me the victim who had to stand up in the court as an accused. I thank everyone who stood by me, especially my witnesses… who came to the court and testified on my behalf,” she said.
“I thanks the court for the verdict and I thank my lawyer Rebecca John and the amazing team who believed in me and the wider cause. They put their heart and soul in the case,” Ramani said after the verdict.
Ramani had made allegation of sexual misconduct against Akbar in the wake of the #MeToo movement in 2018.
Akbar had filed the complaint against Ramani on October 15, 2018 for allegedly defaming him by accusing him of sexual misconduct decades ago.
He resigned as a Union minister on October 17, 2018.
He has denied all the allegations of sexual harassment against the women who came forward during #MeToo campaign against him.
(With inputs from PTI)