NEW DELHI: A Delhi court Wednesday framed defamation charge against journalist Priya Ramani in a case filed by former Union minister M J Akbar after she levelled allegations of sexual misconduct against him when he was a scribe.
Ramani, who appeared before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal, pleaded not guilty and claimed trial.
"I plead truth as my defence, made in good faith in public interest and for the public good. I will prove my defence during trial. I plead not guilty," she said.
The court also granted permanent exemption to Ramani from personal appearance before it after she said she has a small child to take care of.
Akbar's counsel did not oppose the exemption plea.
The court listed the matter for hearing on May 4.
Akbar, who resigned as Union minister on October 17 last year, filed a private criminal defamation complaint against Ramani after his name cropped up on social media as the #MeToo campaign raged on in India.
Ramani has accused Akbar of sexual misconduct around 20 years ago when he was a journalist.
He has denied the accusations.
Akbar had earlier told the court that the allegations made in the article in Vogue and the subsequent tweets were defamatory on the face of it as the complainant had deposed them to be false and imaginary.
He had told the court in his statement that an "immediate damage" has been caused to him due to the scurrilous, concocted and false allegations of sexual misconduct.
Multiple women have come out with accounts of alleged sexual harassment by him while he was working as a journalist.
Akbar has termed the allegations "false, fabricated and deeply distressing" and said he was taking appropriate legal action against them.