Court of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Rouse Avenue to soon begin hearing MJ Akbar's criminal defamation case against Priya Ramani.

#MeToo #PriyaRamani #MJAkbar #Metooindia

Final arguments in the matter to start afresh after the transfer of Judge Vishal Pahuja.

The new ACMM is Judge Ravindra Kumar Pandey.
Hearing begins.

I will just give a little background: Senior Adv Geeta Luthra begins for @mjakbar
Akbar has a long, illustrious career: Luthra makes submissions on Akbar's professional life
He an impeccable reputation. It was not only in professional sphere but also in personal life : Luthra
He has done extreme hardwork and was an exacting superior: Luthra
In 2017, the accused (Priya Ramani) wrote an article which did not name the Complainant, Akbar. A year later, she tweets about it : Luthra
Right to reputation to some of more precious than life : Luthra reads a judgement.
Luthra reads the article written by Ramani.
Look at the language that I used : Luthra continues to read.
This document has to be read with the tweet made one year later: Luthra
Now she attributes this article to the Complainant: Luthra reads the tweet.
She names the complainant, says he didn't do anything. Despite that she is calling him a pervert, a predator: Luthra
It's not that she has done any research or any enquiry. : Luthra
I was not in India at that time. I came back on Oct 14, 2018 and the complaint was made on Oct 15: Luthra
I have to show reputation, transmission to various right thinking people of the society and last that my reputation has been tarnished: Luthra
Luthra reads Akbar's testimony before Court.
I will show to the court who all have talked about this aspect of his reputation: Luthra
Luthra reads Veena Sandal's statement.
I may take the court to the statement of Tapan Chaki: Luthra
Luthra reads his statement.
Luthra reads the deposition of other witnesses.
This takes care of showing that reputation was impeccable and he was respected amongst right thinking members of the society: Luthra
Luthra reads Akbar's deposition.
Luthra says that there was a tweet that Ramani herself said was wrong.

I will come to that later : Luthra
There was no care and caution by Ramani and I will show that there is duty on a person to conduct research.. : Luthra
I'm showing the lack of responsibility here : Luthra refers to Ramani's tweet on Akbar's resignation which turned out to be false.
She makes this statement. Never gives an apology or corrigendum. It's another fact that 3-4 days later, he did give his resignation: Luthra
You cannot make statements in the air without any basis or verification: Luthra
There's no sorry I'm wrong. I will show that she admits that she was incorrect: Luthra
It was bad faith to my client : Luthra
I've already shown Venu Sandal's statement.. let me read another sentence which I didn't read earlier (from Akbar's testimony) : Luthra
Luthra reads Sandal's testimony in the context of dissemination of information.
Public at large came to know.. there was publication. This is the second thing that I need to show : Luthra
It was widely published. It was on social media and became news quickly. It tarnished my reputation which is my third point. I will comet to it quickly: Luthra
Luthra reads the testimony of Akbar's witness, Sunil Gujral.
Across the board, people read it.. people are retweeting it, getting WhatsApp messges: Luthra
This is what led us to file the complaint: Luthra
Luthra comes back to the statement of Joyeeta Basu.
I'll come to the aspect of lowering reputation: Luthra.
Family and friends were profoundly hurt.. : Luthra reads Akbar's testimony
This is per se defamatory. Calling a person something like this is per se defamatory. I've been harmed by the harmful words used : Luthra
Luthra reads Veenu Sandal's statement.
Whatever she (Ramani) said in Vouge article, which she linked with the tweet.. she calls it revelations. They were allegations: Luthra

Luthra continues to read.
Luthra comes back to Tapan Chaki's statement.
Luthra comes to Sunil Gujral.
Last is Joyeeta Basu: Luthra
These in cruz are the ingredients that I need to prove. I have proved it through my witnesses. I showed I had stellar reputation, there was a tweet which was widely disseminated: Luthra
There is hardly any question.. at this point, everyone of the ingredients if criminal defamation are made out. This was done intentionally and deliberately: Luthra
Linking someone with an article one year ago shows that intention has no bonafide basis. It was per se defamatory. They did not say in the article that the article had to be split : Luthra
Luthra reads Ramani cross examination.
How much in line with press council mandate is this : Luthra on Ramani's tweet on Akbar's resignation which later turned out to be false.

Ramani had said that she tweeted based on a media report.

You have a duty to the public : Luthra
There was no verification. As a journalist, you have a duty to verify the veracity of your statement. Social media cannot be used to disseminate on the basis that you read it somewhere. Everyone has the responsibility : Luthra
It's vague, irresponsible statement. It is not fair to tarnish any human being's image: Luthra
This shows a personal element and not a public element: Luthra
There has to be preservation of information. You cannot tamper when you know something may be required : Luthra
Luthra continues to read Ramani's cross examination.
She says she has deleted her Twitter account: Luthra
There was a clear intention to defame: Luthra
I want to read out 2-3 judgements: Luthra
Luthra reiterates that there was malafide on part of Ramani and thus she didn't retrieve her Twitter account.

This is as good as destruction of evidence: Luthra
If we were physically, younger colleagues would be able to show how to search on Twitter: Luthra

Do you want physical hearing? : Judge

No, no : Luthra
I will finish my part today and then after what they argue, I will respond : Luthra
Luthra asserts that Ramani's answers were false and in bad faith.
Some argument was taken that "didn't do anything" was sarcastic. Even sarcasm can be defamatory. The entire article was taken on the face of it : Luthra
Will you read the judgements today or tomorrow? : Court

I will conclude today so that Ms John can start tomorrow: Luthra
There are 2-3 judgements that I wanted to rely on : Luthra
Luthra reads a privy council judgement on press having no right to defame.
We will continue after I get a copy of the judgement: Judge

The copy that I sent to the Court was with highlighted para numbers..I will read three Supreme Court judgements. I want to conclude today if the court permits me to: Luthra
Luthra reads Supreme Court judgement on taking due care and caution.
I will just read 1 sentence : Luthra
SC said that the burden is on the accused : Luthra
Luthra continues to read.
A bare reading of the article and tweet shows that it was done in most casual manner : Luthra
If any clarification in needed (on the judgements), I will take 2 mins before Ms John: Luthra
Luthra reads a judgement.
I'm not getting into reason.. the complaint itself speaks volumes. Due ti paucity of time, I'm not going to read every line : Luthra
The accused has unsupported statements as evidence.. she (Ramani) and her second witness (Nilofer) have contradicted themselves.. it is not supported by CCTV or hotel record: Luthra.
The accused has vague, contradictory evidence: Luthra
Luthra concludes.
Did the counsel have a chance to talk or are the doors shut? : Court to Adv Bhavook Chauhan for Ramani.

No, our stand is clear : Chauhan

I've gone on with my matter.. if the accused was apologetic.. If there's any indication from them, I will ask my briefing counsel : Luthra
Ramani stands by her statement. If the Complainant wants to withdraw then he may bring it on record : Chauhan

Let's continue on merits : Adv Sandeep Kapur for Akbar
Chauhan requests for date in December first week.

Court had already fixed November 25 for arguments: Luthra
Court suggests December 3.
Luthra suggests December 2.
Bhavook Chauhan says matter cannot be concluded in 2 days.

She had taken 4 days earlier. We can't cut short our time. A person's life and liberty is at stake: Chauhan
Matter to be taken up on December 2 and then on December 5 at 12 noon.
No settlement in MJ Akbar defamation case before Delhi Court as Priya Ramani stands by her statement

#MJAkbar @mjakbar #PriyaRamani #metooindia

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