New Delhi, September 8
Journalist Priya Ramani advised a Delhi court docket on Tuesday that she disclosed the alleged sexual harassment by former Union minister MJ Akbar round 25 years later as a result of again then there was “a vacuum in law and there was no platform either”.
Ramani made the submission earlier than Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vishal Pahuja by way of her lawyer in the course of the ultimate listening to of a non-public felony defamation grievance filed by Akbar in opposition to her.
In the wake of #MeToo motion, Ramani in 2018 accused Akbar of sexual misconduct round 25 years in the past when he was a journalist.
Akbar, who later turned Union minister, resigned on October 17, 2018 following the allegations.
Senior advocate Rebecca John stated that Ramani’s tweets have been based mostly on her personal expertise with Akbar.
“Her experience is the fulcrum on which good faith rests. It is validated subsequently by the combined experience of multiple women making similar allegations,” John stated, including that many spoke earlier than her tweet whereas many spoke later.
She stated Ramani made the allegations in October 2018 since there was an “avalanche“ taking place in India during the global #MeToo movement and that she felt “compelled to speak” after she noticed a number of girls, who had labored underneath Akbar between 1993-2011, talking out in opposition to him.
She stated that Ramani made the allegation in her “good faith” as a result of “it was based on her own experience and that of multiple women who spoke publicly”.
“Ramani said it was important for women to speak about sexual harassment at the workplace. She hoped that the disclosure would empower women and encourage them to speak up. Silence is not an option. Speaking out on sexual harassment at workplace is in public good,” John stated.
She added that “it was important and necessary for women to speak up. Women are taught that silence is a virtue. This case has come at a great personal cost. I have nothing to gain. By keeping silence I could have avoided (a lot of trouble). But that would not have been right.”
She stated the allegations have been made 20 years later however it can’t be contested that in October 2018, an avalanche came about in India.
“When my (Ramani’s) incident took place in 1993 there was a gap in the law…whom could have I complained to? Legally I could not have evoked sexual harassment act because it was not in place,” She stated.
John cited Ramani, saying that ladies fought an extended battle.
“The delay was on account of the fact that there was a vaccum in law and there was no platform either. Women at that time were told to keep silent. It was a different world in 1993. I cannot say with confidence that it was a fair world. It took us all a lot of time to fight and established our battles,” John stated.
John stated that seeing different girls communicate, “I (Ramani) felt compelled to speak”.
Citing the allegations made by numerous girls, Ramani’s counsel refuted Akbar’s declare that he had a stellar fame which was lowered by her, John stated “none of his claims in respect of his stellar reputation can be sustained”.
On Akbar’s query as to why she deleted her Twitter account, the counsel stated: “I (Ramani) want no one’s permission to delete my Twitter account.
“It was not an evidence in the case. It is my democratic and constitutional right to do so. I was not ordered by court to not do so…moreover my Tweets the complainant is relying upon in the case have not been denied by me.”
John additional stated that the testimony made by Ramani’s good friend Nilofer, whom she had reportedly acknowledged in regards to the alleged incident quickly after it had taken place, “corroborates Ramani’s truth”.
“Nilofer’s message to Ramani in October 2018, after she tweeted about alleged incident also corroborate the truth stated by the scribe,” she stated, claiming that Nilofer was “a witness of impeccable quality”.
She additional stated that Ramani’s allegation was not politically motivated and her tweets have been based mostly on her personal expertise with Akbar.
The court docket will hear additional arguments on September 14.
Akbar had earlier advised the court docket that Ramani had defamed him by calling him with adjectives equivalent to ‘media’s largest predator’ that harmed his fame.
M J Akbar has denied all of the allegations of sexual harassment in opposition to the ladies who got here ahead throughout #MeToo marketing campaign in opposition to him.
Akbar had earlier advised the court docket that the allegations made in an article within the ‘Vogue’ and the next tweets have been defamatory on the face of it because the complainant had deposed them to be false and imaginary and that an “immediate damage” was prompted to him as a result of “false” allegations by Priya Ramani.
Ramani had earlier advised the court docket that her “disclosure” of alleged sexual harassment by Akbar has come at “a great personal cost” and he or she had “nothing to gain” from it.
She had stated her transfer would empower girls to talk up and make them perceive their rights at office.
Several girls got here up with accounts of the alleged sexual harassment by M J Akbar him whereas they have been working as journalists underneath him.
He has termed the allegations “false, fabricated and deeply distressing” and stated he was taking acceptable authorized motion in opposition to them. PTI