New Delhi: Union Minister Smriti Irani, on Wednesday welcomed Delhi court order of acquitting journalist Priya Ramani in a defamation suit filed by former minister MJ Akbar, stating that “due protection had been given to women” by law.
“I have stated this before, due protection has been given to women and the protectors of law can take action based on their statements,” Smriti Irani told in her press briefing.
The court in its hearing upheld that a woman has the right to put grievances before any platform of her choice even after decades.
Senior editor, MJ Akbar was accused of sexual harassment by journalist Priya Ramani in 2018 under #MeToo movement after which the then Union Minister in PM Narendra Modi’s Cabinet resigned from his position, denying all the allegations. Later, he sued Priya Ramani for defamation over her magazine article alleging harassment by him around 20 years ago.
Dismissing the complaint, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ravindra Kumar Pandey said it was “shameful” that crimes against women were taking place in a country where epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana were written about respecting women.
Making references to the ancient texts, the judge said the glass ceiling would not prevent Indian women from advancing in a society of equal opportunities.
Whereas, acquitting Priya from the charges raised by MJ Akbar, the court said that women can’t be punished for raising instances of sexual abuse. Even a man of social status can be a sexual harasser, the court said, adding that the “right of reputation” cannot be protected at the cost of right to dignity.
“Sexual abuse takes away dignity and self-confidence (and) the social stigma attached with the allegations.. society must understand the impact of sexual abuse and harassment on its victims,” the judge in his verdict.