Delhi court on Monday granted bail to journalist Priya Ramani, summoned as an accused in a defamation case filed by former Union minister M J Akbar after she levelled allegations of sexual misconduct against him when he was a scribe. Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Samar Vishal granted her bail on a personal bond of Rs 10,000, with a surety of a like amount. Senior advocate Rebecca John, appearing for Ramani, told the court that her client was entitled to bail as defamation is a bailable offence. Ramani also moved an application seeking exemption from personal appearance in the case.
The application was opposed by lawyers appearing for Akbar. The court also directed Akbar to file reply on her application before April 10, the next date of hearing. “My next court date is April 10 and it will now be my turn to tell my story. The truth is my defence,” Ramani told the media after the hearing. The court had earlier directed Ramani to appear before it after noting that the allegations made against Akbar were ‘prima facie defamatory’ and he denied all the accusations as false and imaginary.
Ms. Ramani has also moved an application for exemption from her personal appearance, which was opposed by the Counsel for Mr. Akbar. The Court said that “At request, put up for reply and consideration of this application as well as framing a notice under Section 251 of Cr. PC on 10th April.” Ramani accused Akbar of sexual misconduct around 20 years ago when he was a journalist. He has denied the accusations. His name cropped up on the social media as the #MeToo campaign raged on last year. Akbar, who resigned from the Union Council of Ministers on October 17, was in Nigeria when his name came up. He has filed a private defamation complaint against Ramani.
Senior advocate Geeta Luthra and advocate Sandeep Kapoor, both appearing on behalf of Akbar, had earlier told the court that the allegations made in the article and the subsequent tweets were defamatory on the face of it as the complainant had deposed that the allegations were false and imaginary. The counsel had also submitted that the subsequent publications based on the respondent's allegations further aggravated defamation. Multiple women have come out with accounts of alleged sexual harassment by him while he was working as a journalist. He has termed the allegations ‘false, fabricated and deeply distressing’ and said he would be taking appropriate legal action against them.
Tags : #PriyaRamani #Bail #MJAkbar #Defamation #Case