A Delhi Court has acquitted journalist Priya Ramani in a defamation case filed against her by former BJP MP MJ Akbar.
The court, according to Livelaw, said that the time has come for ‘our society to understand that sometimes a victim may for years not speak up due to the mental trauma.’ The woman, it added, cannot be punished for raising her voice against sexual abuse.
“Article 21 and the right to equality is guaranteed under the Constitution. She has full right to put up her case in any platform of her choice,” the court said in its order.
The court also accepted Ramani’s contention that Akbar’s claim of a stellar reputation was demolished by journalist Ghazala Wahab’s testimony, who was also allegedly sexually abused by the journalist-turned-politician.
Judge Ravindra Kumar Pandey cited an instance of Hindu mythology Ramayan when Laxman, when asked to describe Sita, said that he never looked beyond her feet in order to establish that reverence to women was essential in Indian ethos. He said, “The woman cannot be punished for raising her voice against sexual assault. The woman has the right to put her grievance at any platform even after a decade.”
Court cites an instance of Valmiki Ramayan, in its order, when Shri Laxman when asked to describe Sita mentions he never looked beyond her feet, to establish that reverence to women is essential in Indian ethos.#MeToo @mjakbar #priyaramani
— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) February 17, 2021
Ramani had accused Akbar, a former union minister, of sexual misconduct around 20 years ago when he was a journalist. After Ramani’s old write-up, published on the Vogue website, went viral, several women, who worked under Akbar as journalists, had come forward to share their horrific stories of being sexually exploited by the journalist-turned-politician.