A Delhi court on Tuesday summoned journalist Priya Ramani as an accused in a defamation case filed by former Union minister MJ Akbar for labelling allegations of sexual misconduct against him. The court has asked Ramani to appear on February 25.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal issued the direction on Akbar's plea.
MJ Akbar's defamation case against journalist Priya Ramani: Delhi's Patiala House Court has issued summons to Priya Ramani as an accused. She has to appear before the court on next date of hearing on February 25. pic.twitter.com/oMlJd07PHY— ANI (@ANI) January 29, 2019
Akbar, who resigned as Union minister on October 17 last year, filed a private criminal defamation complaint against Ramani after his name cropped up on social media as the #MeToo campaign raged on in India.
In the wake of the #MeToo movement that raged across India last year, where prominent people across industries were named on social media in cases of harassment, Ramani accused Akbar of sexual misconduct.
Ramani in a tweet , identified Akbar as the editor she had written about in an article in Vogue in October, 2017.
Akbar resigned on October 17 in the face of mounting pressure following a spate of allegations of sexual harassment against him by several women journalists, who had worked with him during his time as an editor in the past decades.
However , before resigning, Akbar on October 15 filed a private criminal defamation complaint against journalist Ramani for "wilfully, deliberately, intentionally and maliciously" defaming him and has sought her prosecution under the penal provision on defamation.
The court took cognisance of former Union minister's complaint Ramani and fixed the date for recording of his statement on October 31.
Akbar on Wednesday appeared before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal and the recording of the statement in the matter is underway.
Akbar's name cropped up on social media when he was in Nigeria, as the #MeToo campaign raged on in India.
Hours after returning home from his official tour on October 14, Akbar rejected the allegations and termed them "false, fabricated and deeply distressing" and said he was taking appropriate legal action against them.
He had cited his official tour as the reason for the delay in reacting to the s allegations made against him. "The allegations of misconduct made against me are false and fabricated, spiced up by innuendo and malice. I could not reply earlier as I was on an official tour abroad," the junior foreign minister said in a statement.
The women who accused Akbar of sexual harassment included Ghazala Wahab, Shuma Raha, Anju Bharti and Shutapa Paul.
(with PTI inputs)