NEW DELHI: A Delhi court on Thursday adjourned the hearing in former union minister MJ Akbar's defamation case against journalist Priya Ramani in connection with sexual harassment allegations made against him.
The prosecution and defence both have submitted their evidence. The matter has now been scheduled for final arguments on January 24.
Akbar had filed the defamation case after Ramani had accused him of sexual harassment in 2018.
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On December 10 last year, journalist and author Ghazala Wahab appeared before the court of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vishal Pahuja in the case. Wahab gave her statements and revealed some of her own experiences with Akbar when they worked at a certain media house.
Akbar's counsel told the judge that statements given by Wahab don't qualify as res gestae under section 6 of Evidence Court and she is just a witness and not the accused in the defamation case.
To this, the judge pointed out that the appreciation of evidence takes place only at a later stage. "What might be relevant for you might not be relevant to her," the judge said.
Ramani's counsel, to this, read out the definition of defamation under the Indian Penal Code, which lists truth as a defence. "Akbar has repeatedly cited damage to his reputation as a fact in his complaint. Therefore, examining the witness becomes imperative to establish that defence," John mentioned before the court.
Akbar also resigned as the union minister after his name cropped up on social media as the #MeToo campaign raged on in India. Ramani accused Akbar of sexual misconduct, a charge denied by him.