Ex-Indian minister’s defamation case to be heard on Oct 31

Former federal minister of India MJ Akbar’s (above) criminal defamation complaint against #MeToo accuser, journalist Priya Ramani, will be heard on Oct 31.

After a brief hearing on Thursday, the Patiala House Court in Delhi took cognisance of the case. It will record the statements of Akbar and six witnesses — current and former journalists employed by The Asian Age which he once edited — on Oct 31.

After examining the statements, the court will decide whether there is a prima facie case to summon Ramani who had accused him of sexual harassment.

Akbar’s lawyer Geeta Luthra told the court that media quoted Ramani’s defamatory tweets causing irreparable damage to her client’s reputation, ultimately forcing him to quit on Wednesday to challenge her false accusations in a personal capacity.

Akbar filed the defamation petition against Ramani on Monday, a day after he returned from an official tour, in which he stated that she intentionally put forward “malicious, fabricated and salacious” allegations to malign his reputation.

Ramani, the first journalist to publicly accuse him of sexual misconduct, welcomed Akbar’s resignation adding that she was ready for the legal fight in which, she said, truth is her only defence.