Senior Advocate Geeta Luthra commenced her rejoinder argument before the court of Additional Metropolitan Magistrate Vishal Pahuja on November, 10, 2020 on behalf of MJ Akbar in his criminal defamation case against journalist Priya Ramani.
Mrs. Geeta Luthra submitted that Priya Ramani concocted a fictional story against MJ Akbar and then published it on Twitter without any due care and caution. Mrs. Luthra submitted that Priya Ramani vogue and fake article and subsequent tweets tarnished the MJ Akbar’s reputation in the eyes of the common man. At the beginning of the argument she said that "for some people reputation is more important than their life."
Mrs. Geeta Luthra argued that "What is most offensive is that you make such allegations on a public domain like Twitter where I will have no opportunity to defend myself without indulging in mudslinging."
Mrs. Luthra further argued that Priya Ramani did not look at any evidence to support her story against MJ Akbar and she also failed to discharge her burden of proof under Section 105 of Indian Evidence Act, 1872.
After reminding the Court of the statements given by the prosecution witness supporting MJ Akbar, Mrs. Geeta Luthra argued that Priya Ramani's act of publishing and disseminating her story on both media and social media is per se defamatory. She further said that "Calling someone a sexual Predator is per se defamatory".
Mrs. Geeta Luthra emphasized on her claim that Priya Ramani made allegations against MJ Akbar without any care and caution. Priya Ramani's selective memory discredits her evidence and her story. She remembers what happened in 1997 but does not remember the article she wrote in 2013. This shows that she wrote a fake article and published her tweets with malafide intention and not in public interest or for public welfare. With this, Mrs. Luthra was trying to counter the claim made by Mrs. Rebecca John in her final argument wherein she said that Priya Ramani's statement against MJ Akbar can't amount to defamation as it was made in public interest, to encourage more women to come out and share their stories of harassment. Mrs. Geeta Luthra will continue her arguments on November, 11 2020. Criminal defamation is defined under section 499 of Indian Penal Code, 1860
and its punishment is given under Section 500 of Indian Penal Code, 1860.