Hearing in MJ Akbar's criminal defamation case against Priya Ramani begins before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ravindra Kumar Pandey.

After the transfer of Judge Vishal Pahuj, parties are making arguments afresh.

#MeToo #PriyaRamani #MJAkbar #Metooindia

Senior Advocate Geeta Luthra for MJ Akbar had concluded her submissions on the last date of hearing.

Senior Advocate Rebecca John to begin her submissions for Priya Ramani today.

#PriyaRamani #MJAkbar
Court asks if counsel from both the sides are present.
Priya Ramani is here : John
John begins her submissions.

I will commence by showing the case against me first: John
John asks the Judge to take a look at the complaint.
John reads the complaint by MJ Akbar against Priya Ramani.
I will show that a portion of the allegedly defamatory statement by Ramani was not in relation to Akbar: John
John continues to read.
Structurally, there are certain important documents.. to understand the case against me: John as she asks the Judge to take a look at Ramani's tweet dated 8.10.2018.
At the time, #MeToo movement in India was at its peak : John

John reads the tweet.

She is alongwith this tweet annexing an article written by her in Vouge magazine on 12.10.2017.. almost a year before this tweet : John
When she wrote the Vouge article, she had not named the complainant: John
In her tweet, she disclosed the name of the male boss. The article pertaining to the male boss and incident if sexual harrassment was not an anonymous male boss but MJ Akbar: John
The tweet and the Vogue article have to be read together: John

John asks Judge to read the first line of the tweet.

It says I began this tweet with my MJ Akbar story : John
The reason I'm saying this is that an unnecessary controversy is raised in this case that the entire article referred to MJ Akbar. The first five para only referred to MJ Akbar : John
It can't be clearer than this -- I began my piece with my MJ Akbar story. She uses the words very, very carefully: John
John asks the Judge to read the Vouge article "To the Harvey Weinsteins of the World".

It is not singular, it is plural.. Priya Ramani had been asked to write about (the allegations against Harvey Weinstein): John
"We will get you all one day".. this is again in plural: John reads the piece.
"Dear male boss" in the article cannot be read in isolation: John

John reads the article.
Priya Ramani admits that these four para relate to MJ Akbar. The court can see the brake in language : John
John continues to read the article.
The court at this point may mark my submission that as far as Mr Akbar's role in this article is concerned.. (is limited) : John
Rest of the article refers to other male bosses, spoken genetically: John
Next is tweet dated 10.10.2018 : John
John reads the tweet calling MJ Akbar media biggest sexual predator.

John states that till then, several women had come out against MJ Akbar.
Media's *
The only contestation with respect to the next tweet dated 14.10.2018 is its date : John

John reads the tweet.

The allegation is that he didn't resign on the date on which I tweeted.. Thus Priya Ramani is reckless: John
John refers to other other articles cited by complainant.

John refers to the article written by Barkha Dutt, Elizabeth Roche and FirstPost.
Complainant has six witnesses including himself :. John
Other witnesses who came in his support claiming that his reputation was lowered.. I contest that : John
I've cross examined all of them .. : John
John asks the Judge to come to Section 499 IPC..
John reads section 499 IPC on defamation.
John says there are three ingredients to the offence of defamation.
Publication, harm and reputation of person: John
John refers to Exception 1, 9 and 3 to the offence.
John reads exception 1.

It is not defamation to impute anything which is true concerning any person, for public good.. : John
Whether it is in public good, it is for the court to see : John

John reads exception 9.
Imputation made in good faith for protection of interest of person making it or others : John
Interlinked is exception 3 : John
Conduct of any person touching any public questions.. : John
It is not defamation if imputation relates to something that touches a public question: John
Their case is I published my tweets, article for Vogue .. there is no contestation. I admit to have written all of these : John
The first ingredient, we don't have to labour on : John
I am not denying them. I have never denied them. When the court is assessing integrity, it may be kept in mind that it didn't waste the court's time: John
I have pleaded truth as my defense, that my disclosure was made in good faith, for public good. The reason I have done so because it touched a question of public importance: John
The court will have to come to a conclusion that although an imputation was made, no case for defamation is made out : John
Defamation is not an absolute offence. It is a justifyable offence. Evidence in this case has to dealt with differently.. the accused having led evidence on the exceptions, the evidence must be tested as per the standard laid down by Supreme Court: John
The court must see if they have proved their case beyond reasonable doubt and whether I have crossed the threshold of preponderance of probability. I don't have to prove it beyond reasonable doubt : John
John refers to a Supreme Court judgement on this point.
I want to read section 105 Evidence Act before I read the judgement: John
John differentiates special exceptions from general exceptions under IPC.

John reads section 105.
John reads the judgement.
Their case, they have to prove beyond reasonable doubt. I too must prove my exception.. but to what extent. The supreme court says it's only of preponderance of probability: John
This is the consistent law of the Supreme Court: John
A detailed notice was framed against me.. : John

John reads the notice.

The entire article has been put to me : John
At the very first instance, I specifically pleaded truth as my defense .. I invoked exception 1,9 and 3: John
I will now read the evidence: John
John reads Akbar's testimony.
Court faces connectivity issues.
Connectivity issue yet to be resolved.
Parties are unable to hear the judge.
Link to court disconnected.
Link is opened once again.

Sir, I still can't hear you : John
Issue is fixed.

John continues to read Akbar's statement.
John reads Akbar's cross examination.
Till now, he has not remembered anything: John as she moves on to the second day of Akbar's cross examination.
Ramani continues to read.
Before I continue, so that there is complete understanding of what I questioned him, I would like the court to look at certain documents: John
John shows a Delhi HC order holding Akbar guilty of contempt of court.
John shows Akbar's affidavit to HC tendering unconditional apology.

When I questioned him about it, he feigned ignorance: John
They said my client as a journalist did not exercise due care and caution when she tweeted about the Akbar's resignation.. much as made out of it. As an Editor of Asian Age, Mr Akbar was found guilty of contempt: John
My client at least had the grace tk say that it was an honest mistake. Mr Akbar said he doesn't even remember it : John
Hearing adjourned for the day.

Matter to be taken up next on December 5 at 11.30 am.

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