The court of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate at the Patiala House Court today (February 25, 2019) granted bail to senior journalist Priya Ramani in the criminal defamation case filed by former Union Minister M.J. Akbar.
Mr. Akbar on October 15, 2018, filed a criminal defamation complaint against Ms. Ramani by citing an open letter written by the journalist for the Vogue magazine last October along with her tweets naming him. He sought her prosecution under Section 499 (Defamation) and punishable under Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, for “wilfully, deliberately, intentionally and maliciously defaming” him.
In the letter, Ms. Ramani accused Mr. Akbar of sexual harassment when she was working as a journalist under him around 20 years ago.
After Ramani's revelations, multiple women have come out with accounts of alleged sexual harassment by him while he was working as an editor leading Mr. Akbar to step down as union minister.
On January 22, 2019, the court had reserved its order on summoning Ms. Ramani, However, after observing that the allegations were prima facie "defamatory" the court on January 29, 2019, summoned her.
The matter will next be heard on April 8, 2019.