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27 Jan, 212 tweets, 25 min read
Hearing in MJ Akbar's criminal defamation case against Priya Ramani to begin before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ravindra K Pandey.

Case is at the stage of rebuttal by Akbar. Ramani has concluded her defense.

#MeToo #PriyaRamani #MJAkbar #Metooindia

Senior Advocate Geeta Luthra appears for @mjakbar.

#MJAkbar #PriyaRamani

Hearing to start as soon as the Judge joins the virtual link.
Hearing begins.

We have network issue. I think mobile network is not working. We've used LAN to connect : Judge

Judge has connected from Rouse Avenue court which is near ITO.

#PriyaRamani #MJAkbar
Senior Advocate Luthra begins, refers to judgements that she whishes to rely upon.
I will sum up after 15 mins.. : Luthra
There are two exceptions that are and nine. Onus is on the accused ..she has been unable to prove the incident, calling him a predator and references to bath, massage.. : Luthra
She has to prove every line that she alleges.. the article is false and at the very least is highly imaginative. It is not true. That defense is not available: Luthra
All the four ingredients of exception 9 are necessary. The onus is on her to prove public good, public interest and good faith. She has not been able to discharge this onus : Luthra
Luthra reads a judgement
Senior Advocate Luthra faces internet connectivity issues.
Hearing resumes.

Luthra continues to read the judgement.
Not even an iota of her statement is true. The onus is on her to prove to each and every averment. It is cast in stone. She has not even filed any complaint or gone to any public authority. She went to social media .. : Luthra
Day and after day when we go to court, we ask did you make a contemporaneous complaint? Here there is no complaint .. no case to any State, National Commission or employer or authority: Luthra
You cannot do something like this. Two days ago, in Umar Khalid case, the Ld CMM.. some writers were there .. the court said you can't make these generic allegations. I'll pick up some paragraphs: Luthra
Luthra reads the order in Umar Khalid case.

Read more about the order here:…
A reporter should have basic knowledge of law.. : Luthra reads.
Duty of press and media to inform and educate..: Luthra continues to read.
Court says has there is a duty to do proper research before you report something: Luthra
The reason I'm saying is that it is too easy to say something on social media without verifying: Luthra
You do not have any basis to do so. It is blatant falsehood: Luthra
Luthra refers to another judgement.
Luthra reads the judgement.
The judgment is on taking due care and caution.
Even the 2013 Act says there has to be a complaint within three months. Here there is nothing.. a person can go to public domain and malign a person: Luthra
After giving an alleged incident, you say he is a predator: Luthra
Luthra continues to read the judgement.
All these judgements..each of these are foundational judgements on defamation by Supreme Court.. Luthra
Can we see any inquiry in this case? None. One has to give reasons and facts to show that there was due care and caution: Luthra
Luthra refers to Ramani's tweets calling @mjakbar media's biggest sexual predator and that he had resigned.. these are per se indefensible: Luthra
Luthra continues to read.
Nothing said by her for public good.. there was no place before this. But even now you have not made any complaint. Even now you haven't proved yourself. Where are you different from where you were in 1990?: Luthra
Luthra reiterates that Nilofer was hearsay, interested witness and the WhatsApp conversation is inadmissible.
This case stinks of bad faith..there was a recent controversy with regard to Neta Ji's portrait. When people found out that the tweet was wrong, they deleted it.. here this person calls it (Premature tweet on Akbar's resignation) the truth. None of it is true : Luthra
She said it was the truth knowing it wasn't. She didn't delete it but went on to delete the entire account. She is tampering with evidence: Luthra
Which court says that after you murder don't wash the car and remove the traces : Luthra
Luthra reads Ramani's defense

Sorry I went overboard, I apologise.. but she sticks her guns regarding the premature tweet on Akbar's resignation. This is very unfortunate: Luthra
She repeats it in her Section 313 CrPC statement. Argument is that Twitter has no corrigendum.. but this is wrong: Luthra

Luthra reads Jaiveer Shergill's tweet taking back his earlier tweet on Neta Ji portrait controversy.
For such an important thing when defamation case is filed against you, would you not know if you have a corrigendum. You misled the court on oath : Luthra

Luthra reads Ramani's cross examination.
Even now she is saying I spoke the truth: Luthra
Even after 14/10/2018 she is saying I spoke tbe truth. Where is good faith, public good, due care & caution which is the basis for 9th exception: Luthra
This absolute falsehood. She didn't take any names first, wrote an anonymous article because her editor asked her to : Luthra

After one year, she named @mjakbar but says he didn't do anything: Luthra
Then she says didn't do anything was sarcastic.. there are contradictions everywhere. You should decide at this stage at least: Luthra
At the stage of notice and Section 313 you said it was the truth.. falsehood in 313 leads to adverse inference : Luthra
Falsehood at the stage of notice is perjury. She then deleted her account : Luthra
You defense statement is also false : Luthra

The Vogue article is not split. Your witnesses don't say so. You didn't put it to my witnesses : Luthra
The defense is baseless and false : Luthra
There are three judgements on exception 9: Luthra
Chaman Lal, Harbhajan and Mahto are important judgements.. I will end with Justice Dipak Mishra's judgement in which he quotes Mahabharata: Luthra
Luthra reads a judgement.
These are exactly the words in Umar Khalid.. : Luthra
What she is saying that FirstPost published it and others also said it.. can you make it your defense? : Luthra
You didn't even correct you simple blind belief.. you reiterated it in your notice and said it was your truth : Luthra
There was no care and attention.. you can't call someone a predator without any basis. It is wrong: Luthra
Luthra reads a judgement.
Here there is no make believe inquiry also. Not a single thing or word is after any inquiry: Luthra
I'm not going to read other judgements. I wanted to explain what Nilofer says. Everything she says is hearsay. Nothing happened contemporaneous: Luthra
Luthra refers to the WhatsApp conversation between Ramani and Nilofer. No matter how much you stretch it, it is not Res Gestae: Luthra
Res Gestae has to be immediate and at that time: Luthra
The judgement relied upon by Ms John .. my Supreme Court judgement discusses it. No matter how much you abuse Res Gestae, this case can't be covered by it : Luthra
Luthra reads a judgement.
The general rule of evidence is that hearsay is not admissible..: Luthra continues to read.
Court faces connectivity issues.
Hearing resumes.

Luthra continues to read the judgement.
The evidence must be contemporary and there should be no interval : Luthra reads
There is no complaint, grievances, reference to any authority. This case is for false reasons which comes out from my cross examination. It is not for good faith : Luthra
There are no landline phone numbers, bills ..just verbal averments like firing in the air without any basis: Luthra
WhatsApp is inadmissible.. it is two decades later between two friends: Luthra
Her own witness is letting her down on Res Gestae.. : Luthra on Nilofer's statement that Priya Ramani called her up on her landline "well after dinner time" on the date of the incident
This cannot be the use of res Gestae by bringing it in such over elastic manner : Luthra
I'll read one last judgment: Luthra
Luthra reads the judgment.
Onus of proof is not discharged by showing that the act was done on information given by others : Luthra
For a Minister, you would ask the PRO concerned. Or check with Mr Akbar's office. You would not say something irresponsibly and yet stick to the story. You didn't say the due care & caution before calling @mjakbar media's biggest sexual predator: Luthra
I want to end with Ghazala Wahab. Wahab is not talking about this case : Luthra
She doens't link her story to this case.. three people repeating a falsehood doens't make it true. You have to show it. You have to explain the car, caution and linkage in calling Akbar media's biggest sexual predator: Luthra
Priya Ramani should be published under criminal law of defamation. This is not a #MeToo case. It is a defamation case. The onus is on her: Luthra
She has not been able to show truth or good faith. It is malafide, deliberate maliciousness : Luthra
She knowingly does everything, doens't apologize. Any other aspect, so far as my reputation is concerned, it is stellar and has been damaged: Luthra
Luthra reads a judgement on right to reputation and dignity.
Here there is no due process or complaint to is actually trying to abuse the process. She didn't make any complaint even now : Luthra
Luthra reads a quote from Bhagwat Geeta which is cited in the judgement.
These are the words of Chief Justice Dipak Mishra when criminal defamation was upheld : Luthra
There are many erudite paras in this judgement: Luthra
Luthra reads the judgement.
Whatever the defense that may be taken, fact is that it cannot undo the harm done. Even a conviction can't undo the harm. In this case, the law should have its consequences. I've been harmed, I seek justice from this court. I have no other way : Luthra
I've been irreparably harmed : Luthra
Senior Advocate Luthra concludes.

Parties can give written submissions within five days of conclusion of arguments: Court
Hearing to continue at 2.15 pm today when Senior Advocate Rebecca John will make submissions on behalf of Priya Ramani.
Senior Advocate Rebecca John begins for Priya Ramani.

#PriyaRamani #MJAkbar
The extensive arguments in rejoinder.. I will be responding to some of them in facts and law : John
They argued that the accused did not name anyone in 2017 in Vogue article but named @mjakbar a year later without any basis : John
They argued that bifurcation of article was an afterthought: John
It is a fact that Ramani did not name @mjakbar in the Vogue article of 2017. However in her evidence she has explained that it was #MeToo that gave her the courage to name him in her tweet : John
Merely because the accused had not named in 2017.. it does not take away the credibility of the Allegations made at the height of the #MeToo : John
It is a legal argument unknown to law. The notice does not put the substance of the allegations to an accused : John
She said yes I had a defense.. truth, good faith, public good. The min she says she would prove in the trial it doesn't not lie for the Complainant to say that it should have explained everything at the stage of notice : John
Trial commences only after notice. I have responded to the allegations/article during the trial : John
It is not an afterthought. How many times has Ramani explained her position?: John
We put the bifurcation of the article to @mjakbar : John
John reads @mjakbar cross examination on this aspect.
Only first para were on @mjakbar. He said the entire piece on him. She didn't do any such thing : John
Ramani explained the structure of the Vogue article: John
This has been put to @mjakbar, my defense and this is the obligation in law : John
Accused (Ramani) made her position amply clear to anyone who understands English language: John
"I began this piece with my MJ Akbar story".. it's not the whole piece. I repeated my position in my sec 313 statement and in my defense witness statement: John
John reads portion of Ramani's statement on how she wrote the Vogue article.
The rest of the article was about the behaviour of male bosses and allegations against Harvey Weinstein: John reads
This is the author of the article stating on oath the structure of the article: John
John asks Court to look at the Vogue article.
The title is "To the Harvey Weinsteins". Then "we'll get you all one day": John
It is evident at the second page of the article that there is a clear break..: John
Under no stretch of imagination could it be argued that the entire article was on her experience with @mjakbar : John
If Priya Ramani wanted to, could have said that the whole article was on @mjakbar . Nothing stopped her. But here is a witness who respects the truth: John
I did not because it never happened. What happened was only between para 1-4. Instead of appreciating tha fact that I admitted, we have now entered a debate : John
All of this I put to the witness: John
Only first four paras relate to Mr Akbar. Others are on other male bosses particularly Harvey Weinstein: John
John deals with allegations of plagiarism against Ramani.

Ramani says that while researching for the Vogue article, she read these four articles : John
These are the articles she read before writing the Vogue article: John
There are five pharse inverted commas in the Vogue article.. : John
Priya Ramani in her evidence stated that these portions were taken from these articles as a representation of what Harvey Weinstein did to multiple women : John
They don't have to be proved. The purpose was that Ramani referred to these articles : John
While Ramani was on stand, the previous judge allowed her to show from where these phrases were picked : John
Priya used these phrases to show what men like Harvey Weinstein do .. that is not plagiarism. Let's not get carried away: John
Ramani showed the four articles she read and the structure of the Vogue article. Nobody is claiming that these articles were not written: John
These are examples of what women go through while being sexually harassed by their bosses. To say it is plagiarism is absurd : John
There is not a thing that I've put on record without correlating it with a document: John
When Ramani says .. that while researching for the article I could not help by remember by own story, it is not fictitious. It is personal : John
It cannot be clearer than what appears in her statement: John
How is this fictitious? When I recall something that happens me it is a real life story and not fictitious. You ar undermining the sexual harassment that women go through at workplace: John
John reads the statement of Ramani.
I was not asked by anyone to write a fictitious piece. I was a freelancer.. what Ramani faced is a condensed in the Vogue article: John
At no stage has Ramani challenged @mjakbar journalistic competence. The tweet is a professional tweet where she said she preferred him TOI column over (some other) .. I can call someone a very good lawyer (and still accuse him): John
The contestation of Akbar's reputation is on the basis of the allegations against him. There is no contradictions between the two : John
They opened the door of @mjakbar being a man of great reputation. I have every right to contest it through my own evidence and the evidence of Ghazala Wahab: John
John refers to @mjakbar 's consensual relationship with a 23 year old subordinate at workplace.

This is what harassment looks like. No human being accused of sexual harassment can be a person of high reputation: John
No journalist guilty of contempt of court can be a man of high reputation.. writing books does not define reputation: John
Much is said about the tweet (on Akbar being called a predator and that he didn't do anything).. : John
This para will explain both the parts : John reads Ramani's statement.
Sexual harassment can take many forms. It can be physical, verbal. I was honestly disclosing that there was no overt physical attack but that did not excuse Akbar's sexually colored behaviour: John reads
I used the predator in the context on my expression and the shared experience of other women.. to highlight the difference in age and power : John reads
A predator is always more powerful than his prey : John reads.
Ramani is explaining to the court the usage of these terms. We have to look at it through her lens unless there is perversity: John
If the court co relates with the cross examination of MJ Akbar.. the witness and complainant accepted that nothing happened physically. He can't now say that these words were not understood: John
For predator, my friend cited two legal dictionaries. When ordinary people write, they don't use legal dictionaries. Ordinary people understand ordinary meanings : John
Ten women had admittedly made allegations against Akbar. She is naming them and if this doesn't show predatory behaviour, nothing does : John
This is clear from their own document. Till Oct 10, 10 women had narrated their personal experience. This usage was not defamatory. The imputation is the truth. You cannot look at defamation in isolation. Truth is painful and bitter : John
Next is that Ramani did not exercise due care and caution before she made her allegations: John
To substantiate, they referred to some judgements. One judgement is SK Sundaram : John
Before a person purposes to make an imputation, the person must make an inquiry.. : John reads the judgment.
Sir, what the Supreme Court is saying that there must be an in-depth inquiry.. in this case, a lawyer had made allegations against a sitting CJI: John
When I'm talking about myself and my own personal experience, whom do in inquire from? I am an eye witness in my own case. I could have only asked @mjakbar. We were the only two in the case: John
There can't be any inquiry in relation to my own case. The judgement has to be seen in its context : John
John deals with other similar judgements cited by counsel for MJ Akbar.
They exhibited documents and when it went against them, they say it is not proved: John
I cited three judgements.. to show that their document, proved or not proved, can be used by the accused : John
Court takes a short break.

We'll resume in 2 mins: Judge
Hearing resumes.

John refers to the FirstPost article exhibited by MJ Akbar.
They said content can be proved by the author only. I have every right to use it no matter how you exhibit it. Akbar was extensively cross examined on it : John
Please don't repeat the arguments that have been made already: Judge

Yes, I'm not repeating : John
John reads Akbar's cross examination on the FirstPost article.
John reads Akbar's statement that he had read the other tweets / allegations made against him.
They proved it. The witness said he read are these. How can they say it is not proved. At this stage, they can't be permitted to argue that the document was not proved. It is because it is an extremely damaging article for them : John
Next argument was that the testimony of other women was irrelevant and Wahab's testimony had no relation to the facts of the present case: John
Since I'm contesting the claim that @mjakbar was a man of impeccable reputation.. the testimony of other women are important. Wahab is an eye witness of her own experience and makes a frontal attack on Akbar's reputation: John
Wahab proves the existence of #MeToo movement and was thr first woman to tweet against @mjakbar on Oct 6, 2018 : John
Only two have testified in this court against MJ Akbar. The FirstPost article names the other women. All this is interlinked: John
The second tweet is a statement of fact because 10 women had made disclosures by then: John
The case set up by accused is multiple.. that Akbar's reputation was flawed : John
It was said Ramani did not believe in due process.. this is false. I have already stated that section 354 exited in 1993 which required a physical assault which was not the case here. The workplace Act came in 2013: John
When the incident takes place, there was no remedy. It was the #MeToo movement that gave them the platform. The question is when she made the allegations, was it credible or not : John
Commitment to due process can be seen from the start.. unlike them who feigned ignorance: John
I did not hide behind false defense..I am an honest witness : John
Just because that particular suggestion (put to Akbar on Ramani speaking to Nilofer after the incident) was ruled as hearsay, does that prohibit me from producing direct evidence? I may not put it to MJ Akbar. It is direct evidence: John
John refers to a judgement on hearsay.
Ramani never said Nilofer was in the hotel room. She said she spoke to her on the phone : John as she reads a judgement on the admissibility of Nilofer's statement.
John reads and explains the context of the judgement.

Our incident is on 1993. The case was filed in 2018. I confided in Nilofer on the same day..she responded to my tweet on WhatsApp recalling the 1993 incident. The chain of res Gestae ends here : John
They may call it fabricated.. their defense was this message was pre planned. The previous judge saw the message on the phone. Res Gestae is complete: John
Spontaneity is present in our case..both Ramani and Nilofer remained constant in their testimony: John
Apart from section 6, Nilofer's statement falls under Section 9 of Evidence Act. There can be many facts in issue. My fact in issue is intrinsically connected to the trial : John
This is another fact in issue: John reads Section 9
As far as Ramani is concerned, she is taking defense of Exception 1,3 and 9. Section 9 supports an inference suggested by a fact in issue : John
Facts in issue are not limited to ones claimed by Complainant. There is corroborated evidence of the incident of 1993 : John
These messages are admissible of the fact that the truth is not "fictitious" : John
Priya Ramani's phone was seen and examined by the Court : John
They now argue that the messages are not admissible unless I produce the photo gallery .. all this is alien to Indian law : John
John reads a judgement on production of Section 65B certificate..
John points out that portion from the judgement relied upon by Akbar's counsel refer to USA and not India.
It is in relation to UK.. the para cited relate to a different country and jurisprudence.. : John
The judgement cited by me.. says when original device is produced, that's the end of the matter : John
Nilofer's evidence is admissible under sections 6 and 9. : John
They say I've taken alternative defenses: John
John refers to the premature tweet on Akbar's resignation.
If I break down the tweet, the first line was based on the fact, media report that MJ Akbar had resigned. This is from 2018. Will my defense of truth apply to an unfolding event of 2018 or 1993?: John
The defense was in relation to the 1993 incident. That is the incident where I'm claiming truth. It is ridiculous that this argument is being made : John
Just because I made a mistake about his resignation.. and he did resign on October 17: John
John reads Ramani's testimony.
In her cross examination, she says she made an honest mistake. I am saying the first line relates to event of 2018 and not 1993 where I'm claiming defense of truth. This premature announcement was based on media report. Does it turn anything? : John
Have they been able to contest the volume of allegations made against @mjakbar .. for that (resignation) now I've to speak to External Affairs PRO? : John
Yes, I was a wrong report. So what? They found one thing : John
John reads Akbar's cross examination on being found guilty of contempt of court.

Even he makes mistakes: John
It doesn't lie in their mouth to make a big deal out of an inadvertent error : John
Court proceeds to adjourn the matter.
I will need one small session: John
We will take it on February 1 at 2:15 pm : Court
Hearing adjourned.

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