Delhi’s Patiala House court has listed the matter of Union minister MJ Akbar to 18 October. He had filed a criminal defamation case in the court against journalist Priya Ramani yesterday.
“My wife faces a union minister, his 97 lawyers. It takes special courage to do that. My wife Priya [Ramani] is amongst the 14 women journalists who have named union minister MJ Akbar for a range of inappropriate workplace behaviour,” wrote her husband Samar Halarnkar, in his column.
On Monday Union Minister MJ Akbar filed a private criminal defamation complaint in a court in Delhi against journalist Priya Ramani, who has accused him of sexual misconduct around 20 years ago, alleging she “wilfully” and “maliciously” made imputations against him with the ulterior motive of maligning his reputation and political standing.
The minister of state for external affairs filed the plea in the Patiala House district courts through law firm Karanjawala & Co and the ‘vakalatnama’ names 97 lawyers, who have been authorised by Akbar to represent him.
Ramani said in a statement that she is ready to fight the defamation allegations. She alleged that “rather than engage with the serious allegations that many women have made against him, he (Akbar) seeks to silence them through intimidation and harassment”.
Priya Ramani is the torch-bearer of the Indian episode of the #MeToo campaign. She spoke out against the minister of state and then all hell broke loose. Many skeletons started tumbling from cupboards and many dark secrets came to light, related to the film industry and in media as well as other fields. Within days a movement of sorts started with each day witnessing horrific tales of sexual harassment and exploitation.