Verdict in Priya Ramani case will give more women courage to speak up against abuse: activists

·3-min read

New Delhi, Feb 17 (PTI) Activists and lawyers were among the scores of people to welcome a Delhi court's decision to aquit journalist Priya Ramani in the defemation case filed against her by former Union minister M J Akbar, against whom she had made allegations of sexual harassment, saying the verdict will give courage to more women to speak up against abuse and exploitation.

A Delhi court on Wednesday acquitted journalist Ramani in Akbar's criminal defamation case against her over the allegations of sexual harassment, saying a woman has the right to put grievances before any platform of her choice even after decades.

Kavita Krishnan, secretary of the All India Progressive Women's Association, said the verdict empowers women.

'Bravo #PriyaRamani. Your abuser @mjakbar hit you with a SLAP suit but you stand vindicated. Verdict empowers women, saying we should understand that sometimes a victim may for years not speak up due to mental trauma, cannot be punished for raising her voice against sexual abuse,' she tweeted.

Yogita Bhayana, an activist who heads the People Against Rape in India (PARI), said the verdict will encourage more women to come forward.

'It is ironic that we are celebrating that the victim was not sent to jail. But it is a positive step and it will encourage more women to come forward and open up about their abuse. It will help more working women to speak up,' she told PTI.

Supreme Court lawyer Karuna Nundy said this #MeToo victory sets an important precedent for truth, spoken in the public interest.

'Congratulations, Priya Ramani, Ghazala and all those who spoke up. This #MeToo victory sets an important precedent for truth, spoken in the public interest,' she tweeted.

Senior advocate Indira Jaising called the verdict a big win for women.

'Congratulations to Priya Ramani and her able legal team led by Rabecca John, a big win for women in general and for her in particular. Thank you Priya for speaking up when you did. This is a big victory for the #MeToo movement,' she tweeted.

Netizens also welcomed the verdict.

'A day to remember that #MeToo is not a movement. It's a consciousness about demanding and expecting safe workplaces, whether at home or outside. Women, who can, must always stand up for themselves, and for those who are unable to stand for themselves #PriyaRamani,' a Twitter user said.

Another Twitter user said the truth has prevailed. 'Truth prevails. What a resounding victory for India's women, for all who spoke up and continue to do so. For Priya Ramani for refusing to be intimidated and giving courage to so many more who will continue to speak up. #MeToo #TimesUp,' another user tweeted.

Ramani had made allegations of sexual misconduct against Akbar in the wake of #MeToo movement in 2018.

Akbar had filed the complaint against Ramani on October 15, 2018 for allegedly defaming him by accusing him of sexual misconduct decades ago. He resigned as a Union minister on October 17, 2018.

He has denied all the allegations of sexual harassment of the women who came forward against him during the #MeToo campaign. PTI UZM RDM RDM