MJ Akbar defamation case: Judge quotes Mahabharata, Ramayana on importance of a woman's dignity

Updated on Feb 17, 2021 04:01 PM IST
Priya Ramani was acquitted by the Delhi court today in the MJ Akbar defamation case.
File photo of senior journalist Priya Ramani.(Sanchit Khanna/HT Photo)
File photo of senior journalist Priya Ramani.(Sanchit Khanna/HT Photo)
Reported by Richa banka | Written by Amit Chaturvedi

A Delhi court on Wednesday acquitted journalist Priya Ramani in the criminal defamation case filed by former Union Minister MJ Akbar.

In its judgement, the court quoted two epics - Mahabharata and Ramayana - and said that they show the importance of dignity of a woman.

"It's shameful that such incidents are happening in India. Two great epics Mahabharata and Ramayana have been written here to show the protection of dignity of a woman," said Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ravindra Kumar Pandey.

Referring to Aranya Kand from the Ramayana, the judge said that legendary bird Jatayu fought demo king Ravana to save Sita. Speaking more about the Ramayana, the judge said that when Laxman was asked to describe Sita, he said he never looked beyond her feet. "Reverence to women is essential in Indian ethos," the judge remarked.

The court accepted the contention that Akbar was not a man of stellar and impeccable reputation.

The court also said that most women do not talk about the sexual harassment to prevent her dignity as she also has a family and has to go through the trauma.

The judge had on February 1 reserved the judgment after Akbar as well as Ramani completed their arguments.

Ramani had made allegation of sexual misconduct against Akbar in the wake of #MeToo movement in 2018.

Akbar, the former minister of state for external affairs, had filed the complaint against Ramani on October 15, 2018 for allegedly defaming him by accusing him of sexual misconduct decades ago when he was a journalist.

Ramani was the first woman to accuse Akbar of sexual harassment during the #MeToo campaign. The allegations levelled against him forced him to resign from the Union Cabinet on October 17, 2018.

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