MJ Akbar defamation case: Next hearing on October 31

MJ Akbar defamation case: Next hearing on October 31
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New Delhi, Oct 18: The Patiala House court on Thursday took cognisance of MJ Akbar’s defamation case against journalist Priya Ramani, who has accused him of sexual misconduct around 20 years ago.
The court fixed October 31 for the next hearing.
Additional chief metropolitan magistrate Samar Vishal considered the submissions of senior advocate Geeta Luthra, representing Akbar, who referred to various tweets of Ramani to allege that they have caused irreparable damage to the reputation of the former junior minister of external affairs.
Luthra told the court, “Priya Ramani has tweeted defamatory tweets against the complainant. Her second tweet was clearly defamatory and liked by 1200 people.”
She added, “Articles in international and national media quoted these defamatory tweets. Tweets are defamatory unless Ramani proves anything.”
On Wednesday, Akbar resigned as minister of state for external affairs following a spate of accusations of sexual misconduct levelled by several women against him.
In a statement on Wednesday, Akbar said, “Since I have decided to seek justice in a court of law in my personal capacity, I deem it appropriate to step down from office and challenge false accusations levied against me, also in a personal capacity.”
The minister’s resignation came after he issued a statement on Sunday denying allegations by women journalists who had worked with him. He had said that some allegations were untrue while other accounts did not refer to any offence.
Akbar resigned amid a growing view in the BJP that apart from the legal aspects of the allegations, the broader perception over the controversy was damaging. The possibility of the controversy continuing to gain traction as it moved to court and a declaration by 20 women that they were willing to testify against Akbar raised the cost of his continuation as a minister. Akbar’s name had cropped up in the social media campaign #Metoo against alleged sexual harassment when he was in Nigeria on an official tour as an Union Minister.