PRIYA RAMANI V. MJ AKBAR – DEFAMATION BY MONISHA ACHARYA @LEXCLIQ

INTRODUCTION
In year 2017 – 2018, Sexual Harassment #metoo campaign was started. In which many famous names were dragged and it created a curious all around the world.
Women came up with all the stories she faced because of someone or at some places.
IN INDIA
Many women talk about the sexual harassment happened with them, they took social media as a platform to urge about it. B’WOOD was one of the most talked place for metoo movement in India. Many actress open up about it and in the field of Journalism also it created the mess.
So we will talk about the case which talked about the metoo campaign and defamation too.

IN CASE OF PRIYA RAMANI V. MJ AKBAR
FACTS –
Priya Ramani who was a Journalist at that time talked about the incident happened with her in 1997. At that time M.J Akbar was the head of the Asian Age.
He called Priya Ramani in a Hotel Room for Interview according to her it seemed like a date more than an interview and whatever she faced at that time she talked about it all in 2017.
As Article was written in Vogue named as – “ TO THE HERVEY WEINSTEIN OF THE WORLD” .
In this article she did not blamed any one directly, but article consist of the words such as – ‘Former Boss, Sexual Predator’
And after 20 year of her harassment incident in 2018 Priya Ramani in her twitter – mentioned the name of M.J Akbar.
In 2018 , MJ Akbar filed the criminal Defamation case against her – stating that she had harmed his stellar reputation as all the allegations made by her were false.
In this case Delhi DISTRICT court held that was in favor of Priya Ramani – saying –
Even a Man of social status can be a sexual harasser.
The right of Reputation cannot be protected at the cost of the right of life and dignity of Women.
The Women has a right to put her grievance at any platform of her choice and even after decades she can do so.
So, court acquitted Former Journalist Priya Raman.

TALKING ABOUT DEFAMATION –
IT MEANS – When any person talk about your reputation which is wrong and it is harming your reputation and dignity.

Indian Penal Code section 499 talks about defamation in legal terms it means – whoever, by words either spoken or intended to be read, or by signs or by visible representations, makes or publishes any imputation concerning any person intending to harm, or knowing or having reason to believe that such imputation will harm, the reputation of such person, is said, except in the cases hereinafter expected, to defame that person.

Section 499 also cites exceptions. These include “imputation of truth” which is required for the “public good” and thus has to be published, on the public conduct of government officials, the conduct of any person touching any public question and merits of the public performance.

Defamation are divided into two categories –
CIVIL NATURE – Demand Compensation from Court, covered under law of torts.
CRIMINAL NATURE – Demand Punishment from Court.
Section 500 of Indian Penal Code provides punishment for Defamation –
“Whoever defames another shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.”
CONCLUSION
So we conclude that defaming the person with false allegation is offence and telling the truth and telling it for public goodness is not defaming, so in this case did not defame any person.

 

Monisha Acharya

An aspiring lawyer in process.

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