A Delhi court today adjourned MJ Akbar's defamation case against journalist Priya Ramani. The court, which had been expected to deliver its judgement in the case today, stated that parties had submitted their written submissions late, and that the verdict would take time. The judgement will now be delivered on February 17.
Both Ramani and Akbar were present today in the court of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ravindra Kumar Pandey.
Ramani had made allegations of sexual misconduct against Akbar in 2018, in the wake of the #MeToo movement in India. In response, Akbar filed a defamation suit against Ramani on October 15 that year. He also stepped down as a union minister.
On February 1, both parties had concluded their final arguments in the case. Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ravindra Kumar Pandey had then reserved the verdict for February 10.
The case had been heard again after it was last October.
While , Ramani’s counsel Rebecca John had argued that Ramani’s 2018 tweet – on “men in high positions who commit acts of sexual harassment” in the workplace – was done in public interest. “It cannot be anyone’s case that men in high positions are entitled to sexually harass their subordinates,” John had told the court.
On her part, Akbar’s counsel Geeta Luthra had was “unpardonable”. She had also said that Ramani’s Vogue article was “fictitious”; the article had detailed Ramani’s allegations but did not name Akbar. Luthra : “ It is vindictive and stated out of malice. There is no truth, no good faith, there is just some other motive and it is not for me to state it.”