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Sep 19, 2020 80 tweets 12 min read Read on X
Court of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Rouse Avenue to soon begin hearing MJ Akbar's criminal defamation case against Priya Ramani.

Senior Adv Rebecca John is likely to conclude her final submissions on behalf of Ramani.

#MeToo #PriyaRamani #MJAkbar
@mjakbar Image
Judge Vishal Pahuja is hearing the case virtually.

#PriyaRamani #MJAkbar #MeToo

@mjakbar @IndiaMeToo
Hearing begins.
We can start and I'll conclude today: John begins.
I'll reply to the opening remarks made by Ms Luthra: John
Ms Luthra had eight essential arguements. She said the tweets were per se defamatory. My reply is that she did not take into account my defence: John.

Senior Adv Geeta Luthra appears for MJ Akbar.
There is no legal or factual basis for that arguements. The standard under sec 499,500 IPC is proof beyond reasonable doubt for them and preponderance of probabilities for me : John
Once I plead that I am covered by the exceptions, stating that the tweets are per se defamatory is a violation of the section: John
The tweets and articles are not per se defamatory given the structure of sec 499 IPC and our arguements: John
The test of a prudent man or woman is applicable to me and not to them. They have to prove beyond reasonable doubt. I have to show that whether a reasonable man or a woman would believe me: John
John points out that a case relied upon by Luthra was a civil defamation case and not a criminal defamation case.
Luthra had relied on the case to assert the rest of a reasonable man.
Even if were to assume that something can be relied upon from this judgement, the law from 1930 to now has changed now: John as she points out that there have been judgements on proof beyond doubt for the complainant.
Reliance of this judgement is erroneous. Once I've come and proved my case and brought defence witness, we have moved far beyond the scope of this judgment: John
Ms Luthra also cited a Himachal Pradesh HC judgement delivered on 5.8.2010.. : John points out that this judgement pertained to preliminary stage of evidence.
Can this judgement be applicable to the present case which is at an advanced stage ?: John asks.
This case is a stage prior to me entering the scene and notice being formed. The case may be relevant for summoning: John
This judgement is of no use when I've invoked exceptions at the end of the trial: John
John refers to another judgement relied upon by counsel for MJ Akbar.

Again, this is not a final argument proof: John
Final argument case*
This judgement was against the summoning order. I'm afraid none of these judgements have any reference to the stage at which we are: John
Teh complainant cannot take teh benefit of test of preponderance of probabilities and test of a reasonable doubt : John
Next they said that Ramani did not say anything for 20 years. My reply is that Ramani has explained the situation at that time and still persists. She said that #MeToo gave her a safe platform: John
Ghazala Wahab also said that there were no mechanism to take action against sexual harassment at Asian Age. Vishakha guidelines came only in 1997: John
At courts, we were not complaint until houses came much later. IPC was also silent .. this was not a case of Sec 354 IPC. Ramani has explained why she kept silence: John
Her silence has been adequately explained. Court can take judicial notice of it: John
Ramani did not jump onto any bandwagon. There was an avalanche of disclosures against MJ Akbar. Hers was one of them. This was not a bandwagon or a trade union. These are women who came out with painful stories and it is disrespectful to dismiss them: John
There can be no question of statute of limitations. It doesn't apply to defence. I'm defending a prosecution and there can be no statute of limitation: John
Ms Luthra said that statements were made casually.. : John refers to Section 52 IPC on good faith
The words used are due care and attention. There is a difference between attention and caution. I exercised good faith when I tweeted 'i began the piece with my MJ Akbar story'.. this is due care and attention. They may chose to misread the structure of the article: John
Even Mr Akbar has stated that it is self evident that this is how I began my piece. I have discharged the burden of good faith by putting myself on the stand.. I have no run away: John
I have not pleaded ignorance like the other side. I have given an explanation of the words that I used. I corroborated my defence: John
I have discharged the burden of good faith: John
They say Mr Akbar worked very hard and his reputation was tarnished by Ramani. Hard work is not exclusive to MJ Akbar: John
This case is not about how hard he worked. My case is that I admired him as a journalist before I met him. But his conduct with me and the shared experience of other women do not justify this complaint: John
I don't think I need to waste too much time to explain again that the Vouge article was not entirely about MJ Akbar: John
She has clearly explained what relates to MJ Akbar and what relates to other male bosses: John
A wrong complaint was filed on the basis of a misreading of the article. Even the notice was wrongly framed. The scribe is herself saying how the article was written. Coupled with the tweet dated Oct 8,2018, there can be no controversy: John
They object to the usage of the word"predator". The court has to assess my defence or disprove the case of the Prosecution. She has explained why she used these words: John
John begins to deal with the objections raised by the complainant counsel during the trial.
Whatever I said was objected to..I'm just looking at the big ones: John
John says that her questions to MJ Akbar on his political career prior to 2014 are relevant.

He himself talked about being an MP from Madhya Pradesh: John
John reads the law on questions relevant in cross examination.
I have every right to test his verasity, to discover who he is and to shake his credit: John
Shake his credibility*
John refers to objections raised with respect to her questions on the contempt notice issued by Delhi HC to MJ Akbar.

This objection si unsustainable: John
John deals with objections to her questions to MJ Akbar on the incident alleged by Ramani.

This is my truth. Only the court can say that my truth is relevant. There cannot be an objection: John
My explanation and my contextualization is a relevant fact. These are meaningless objections: John
One large objection that they took is with respect to the WhatsApp message sent by Nilofer to Ramani on Oct 8, 2018: John

John points out that Nilofer informed the court that the messages were on her phone and offered to show it to the Judge as well.
When I am showing the actual, physical message, I need not prove it through a secondary evidence: John
John refers to case laws.
My witness was asked to produce landline record of 1993. Everyone knows that's not.. they don't exist: John
Court can take judicial notice that nobody in this country can be asked to prove records from 1993: John
John reads a Surpreme Court judgment on section 65B Evidence Act.
I have proved the original device. My witness brought the original device. In any case, all my Sec 65B certificates were objected to by them and I don't know why: John
John reads the content of the certificates.
Every requirement of Sec 65B has been fulfilled: John
John reads Section 65B.
Ghazala Wahab affirmed and proved that she wrote the articles on her experience with MJ Akbar. Any objection is incompressible: John
Nilofer proved the WhatsApp exchange. She contextualised it. It is relevant: John..

John refers to two judgments.
Objection was taken to Ghazala Wahab's testimony. I have dealt with that in my arguements: John
When you say you have stellar reputation, I am obliged to refute it: John
John reads sections 5,7 of Evidence Act.
Everything that I have proved in this case is relevant: John
This is my final statement. I began my address by citing the three elements of section 499 IPC: John
I admitted the tweets. Explanation 1,3 and 9 say that it is not Defamation to impute anything which is true if it is for public good: John
It is not Defamation when something is said in good faith : John
I proved my truth.. my truth was corroborated by Nilofer. I pleaded good faith by stating that I began by piece with the MJ Akbar story and then explained how the Vogue article should be read..I explained the nature of my tweets: John
I explained good faith and what was disclosed was in public interest and public good. The #MeToo movement started in America and came to India in 2018..Ramani's credibility was assailed on the ground of delay. But this is not a case that I initiated: John
My witness are of sterling quality. I have said that requirements of law were not fulfilled by MJ Akbar's witnesses: John
I was proved my case through my testimony, testimony of Nilofer and Ghazala and Akbar's own admission with respect to his relationship with Pallavi Gogoi..: John
MJ Akbar has not proved his case beyond reasonable doubt. My defence has to to be tested on preponderance of probabilities. I can still disprove that MJ Akbar had no reputation : John
Freedom of speech and expression is critical and intrinsic to a democracy. Ramani was a small.part of a large movement. 100s, 1000s of women participated in #MeToo movement: John
I have proved my case and I deserve to be acquitted: John
John ends with a quote said bybRuth Bader Ginsburg on arbitrary barriers that women face in work-life.

I've discharged every burden on me: John

I want to expedite the case. I've heard lengthy arguements: Court
Senior Adv Geeta Luthra seeks two days for her rebuttal.
Court adjourns hearing till Oct 13.
MJ Akbar v. Priya Ramani: Delhi Court hears final arguments [LIVE UPDATES]
@mjakbar #PriyaRamani @IndiaMeToo #metoo…
I deserve to be acquitted: Senior Advocate Rebecca John concludes submissions for Priya Ramani in MJ Akbar defamation case
@mjakbar #priyaramani #metoo…

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