MJ Akbar, Priya Ramani reject settlement
Additional chief metropolitan magistrate (ACMM) Ravinder Dubey on Tuesday once more raised the issue of settlement with the lawyers of MJ Akbar and Priya Ramani with both parties stating that they were not keen to initiate any in the ongoing criminal defamation complaint filed by the former Union minister against the journalist.
The final arguments of the case are being heard again by ACMM Dubey after his predecessor was transferred last week.
In a routine transfer of judges of the district court last week, Pandey replaced Vishal Pahuja at the Rouse Avenue court, which is designated to hear cases against parliamentarians and legislators.
Both Akbar’s and Ramani’s lawyers had completed their final arguments in the case and the order had yet to be reserved.
The criminal defamation suit filed by Akbar pertaining to a sexual harassment allegation made by Ramani in October 2018 was heard by judges Samar Vishal and later, Vishal Pahuja. However, the case did not have to be re-heard at any point.
Senior advocate Geeta Luthra, appearing for Akbar, said that if Ramani were to apologise for her allegations, she would ask her client to consider closing the complaint. Ramani’s counsel, Bhavook Chauhan, on the other hand, said that the defendant stood by her statement and if Akbar wanted to withdraw the complaint, he may do so.
Ramani’s allegations against Akbar were made in the wake of the #MeToo movement in 2018. She had said in the previous final arguments that were her truth and were made in good faith and for the public good.
However, in her final arguments on Tuesday, Luthra said that Ramani’s tweets and articles were per se defamatory.
ACMM Pandey, who started hearing afresh the final arguments in the case, had on Saturday asked both the parties whether there was a chance of settlement between them in the matter.
(With inputs from PTI)