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

Akbar has concluded his rebuttal. Court is hearing Ramani's response.

#MeToo #PriyaRamani #MJAkbar #Metooindia

Senior Advocate Rebecca John appears for Priya Ramani.

#PriyaRamani #MeToo
Hearing begins.
Hearing to start as soon counsel for @mjakbar join.
John begins.

I had left the arguments on the issue of alternative defense. Once I've pleaded truth, I arguably went wrong in tweeting the premature resignation of Akbar. They said it was contrary and without due care and caution: John
I had said that this was based on media reports. That is why I had made that tweet..In my cross examination, a large part is based on this: John
I checked and said there were many threads and I couldn't find the corrigendum. Not finding the corrigendum is different from corrigendum not existing. In any case, Ramani said it was an honest mistake: John
Whether @mjakbar resigned on Oc 14 or 17th has nothing to do with my defense and the incident. Can't extend the defense of truth to the incident of 2018 : John
Accused is entitled to take multiple defense. There is no obligation on me in law except refuting the allegations against me. Because I went wrong.. three days later he did resign : John
My defense of truth remains intact in relation to the allegations of sexual harassment against @mjakbar : John
It cannot be defamatory or can the first line be linked to my defense of truth. The rest of the tweet is in public interest and for public good : John
Men in high positions who commit the act of sexual harassment cannot be in office.. it is in public interest and public good : John
Onus of due care and caution on me is a limited onus: John
John refers to a judgement.
The degree of care expected is of a reasonable man in a reasonable manner : John reads the judgement
The onus on me is of a reasonable man. It is not a fool proof onus which expects me to call up the PRO or the ministry to confirm the news. Has @mjakbar said anywhere that this line caused him harm?: John
Why is so much being made out of this line when it has no bearing on the facts of this case.. they have to hang on this one line as if their life depended on this thread : John
John deals with the argument that non prosecution of other women cannot result in any benefit to Ramani.
My argument was that why was @mjakbar not aggrieved by graver allegations made by Ghazala Wahab and Pallavi Gogoi. As charges became graver, Akbar became unsure : John
Ghazala Wahab's allegations were of six months of sexual assault and harassment. Akbar opposed Gogoi's statement saying it was not rape but consensus relationship: John
Prosecution has the choice but even this must satisfy the court's judicial consciousness: John
John refers to a Madhya Pradesh High Court judgement.
The words are crystal clear.. when you pick and choose, one has to say the reason for not choosing others was for X or Y. Which was not done in the present case. @mjakbar went after Ramani because she was a soft and vulnerable target : John
Chilling effect. And this is what teh judgement said. The object is to harass. That is the consequence. Selective Prosecution must be deprecated: John
The prosecution that chooses to target Priya Ramani to target other women should get no relief : John
The next big argument was partly amusing and wholly without any credence. By deactivating Twitter account, I destroyed primary argument: John
This argument is absurd and fallacious. She has not deleted any tweets. Ramani has deactivated Twitter account for personal reasons: John
The case of @mjakbar as seen in the complaint and his own statement are limited to tweets mentioned in them and not anything else. It is settled that Prosecution must confine itself to the contents to the case. They cannot meander: John
I've not deleted. What is the consequences in relation to the complaint against me? Have I denied making these tweets? From the time I was summoned, I have taken on consistent plea with integrity and honesty. I have not feigned ignorance. I don't suffer from memory losses : John
Faced with that addmission, does admission lie that I tamper with evidence? : John
Once I've made that admission.. Twitter should have proved these tweets but I admitted. No evidence has been destroyed. Whether I deactivate or remain or Twitter, is a private relationship between Twitter and me : John
Did they move a single application asking this court to direct me to reactivate my Twitter account. Very often counsel move applications for presentation of call data records, bank account etc. Did they move any such application? Why is the onus on me : John
Under which law can they compel me to go back? : John
I reactivated when they asked me to check for corrigendum. I deactivated again.. there is not a single direction from court. I have admitted the primary evidence: John
They had ample time to examine my Twitter account when they filed the case. You didn't work. It's not my fault. I'm not obliged to help you to make a case against me : John
I don't have to assist you : John
Priya Ramani's Twitter account is deactivated. If court directs, it can be activated even today. The account is not the subject matter of this case: John
Nothing stopped them to aks for preservation of account at the start of the trial. Whether court could have compelled me is a matter arguments. I have a constitutional right to privacy. I can't be compelled: John
It's not that they didn't get any material from my Twitter account: John
This trail is not a fishing and roving inquiry. Even during cross examination, the court didn't ask me to reactivate my Twitter account: John
That question is now over. Having admitted to the incriminating tweets, I does not lie in the mouth of the complainant to say that I destroyed primary evidence : John
They said Priya Ramani was the first to tweet. I was not. Ghazala Wahab tweeted on October 6. After her Shunali Kullar Shroff.. I tweeted on October 8: John
They argued I could have brought on record CCTV footage, call records .. the burden on me is not of proof beyond ready doubt. Why didn't you disprove the allegations? What stopped you from bringing the hotel records and CCTV footage: John
This question can be asked from both sides : John
I have crossed the onus of preponderance of probabilities. After 20 years, there will be no phone records, CCTV footage or hotel record. I would have if I could have : John
John submits that Priya Ramani's degree, passport, Asian Age visiting card, WhatsApp message exchanged between her and Nilofer were shown to the court.
Suggestions are as important as direct questions... With respect to the incident that took place in 1993, I have put forth questions in suggestive form, that is how it is done... : John
John refers to a Delhi High Court Division Bench Judgment.
Defence though not required prove beyond reasonable doubt, has to probablise its version either by cross-examination or by leading defence evidence: John
When I raise a defence of truth, public interest, public interest, I have to probablise my case... I have done... this is a rare case where I have probablised my case... nothing more is expected from me: John
May I just interrupt. My learned friend has already read judgments...: Geetha Luthra interjects

No, I haven't...: John

My learned friend is reading .. judgments... : Luthra

It'll get over today Geetha, Just let me complete. It will only take another half hour or so: John
... You may have given a suggestion, but you have not materially cross-examined her on the incident. Her testimony has not been shaken: John
The law is not one of "proof beyond a reasonable doubt"... I have proved my case on the threshold of "preponderance of probabilities" and therefore nothing further needs to be done: John
Referring to arguments that #PriyaRamani is not entitled to any special privileges as a journalist, John says: I have not asked for nor do I expect any special privileges.
I am an accused before the court... I am only requesting this court to marshall my evidence (based on applicable evidentiary principles.): John
I have not asked for it, I don't want it: John re arguments over special privileges for journalists
John recounts that Luthra had referred to the TG Goswami v State case.

Standard in defamation cases (as per this case) is how a reasonable man would understand the imputation: John
I am asking myself... 8 of Octover when I tweet that I began by vogue story with by MJ Akbar story. How would a reasonable man understand it? - That my beginning of the story related to Akbar: John
John adds that the author later clarified the structure of the Vogue article
The lack of understanding is on their side, not our side. We have been clear from the start. The test of a reasonable man is a test I want to use: John

The onus on him is "beyond a reasonable doubt." The onus on me is "preponderance of possibilities": John
Aren't we dealing with diametrically different cases?, John asks referring to TG Goswami case.

Imputation there was made without leading any evidence. In my case, I have led evidence on every front!: John
There is no comparison between the two. This case is distinguishable on facts. This is not a case of no evidence. This is a case of overwhelming evidence against the complainant and in favour of the accused!: John
Have I made an attempt anywhere to state that the general reputation among journalists was not good?

I am not making general statements: John
I am bringing affirmative evidence. What is the evidence of DW3?... at least two women have come before your honour and given primary evidence - DW1 and DW 3... I have come and proved my defence on substance and on fact. Nothing is left in the air: John
The Judgment relied on with much fanfare (TG Goswami case) is completely distinguishable on facts: John
I have come, I have proved my evidence: John
Can your lordship, after assessing the evidence on both sides, come to the conclusion that my evidence does not inspire confidence?: John
S 21 (2) of Indian Evidence Act captures the essence of my case because by attacking reputation, by bringing Ghazala Wahab as DW3, present herself as DW1... what we were trying ... (bring)... relevant to a fact in issue. It renders the falsehood of my story improbable: John
Whichever way you see this case, whatever arguments have been made in rebuttal... this case cannot be seen only by the prism of the complainant. This case has to be seen from the point of view of the defence: John
John says that robust, consistent, honest version has been given by Priya Raman which shows that she was subjected to sexual harassment at the workplace by Akbar, that he had had a reputation among women and that one of those women have testified in court
I have proved my case under Section 105 as required by me, by the law laid down by Supreme Court... : John
Nothing remains to be done... arguments (for Akbar) are farcical, without merit..: John

John concludes her arguments urging for Priya Ramani's acquittal based on the evidence presented. Adds that she is grateful for a patient hearing and that she will submit written arguments.
Luthra says she wants to add one thing: My learned friend in her reply ... that she cannot be expected to explain something after so many years. But if she makes a defamatory statement after so many years, then it is her onus to prove the truth.
#Breaking: Delhi Court reserves orders in MJ Akbar's criminal defamation case against journalist, Priya Ramani for her allegations of sexual harassment against Akbar.

Posted for pronouncement on February 10, 2021, 2.30 pm.


#PriyaRamani #MJAkbar #metooindia
Delhi Court to pronounce order in MJ Akbar defamation case against Priya Ramani on February 10 #MeToo #metooIndia #PriyaRamani #MJAkbar

Read full story: bit.ly/2MlxScM

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