Delhi's Court on Friday decided to hear the criminal defamation case filed by former Union Minister MJ Akbar against senior journalist Priya Ramani on January 22.
Priya Ramani had accused Akbar of sexual misconduct in the 90s in one of her article published in the "Vogue India magazine" in October 2017. She referred Mr. Akbar as a "talented predator", and revealed later that the "predator" in the article was M. J Akbar.
She claimed that the incident happened to her when she was invited to a hotel room for a job interview where she was asked to sit on the bed for an interview.
Following her allegations, M.J. Akbar resigned from his post of the Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs on October 17 last year. Ramani, through an article published in lifestyle magazine Vogue India, had leveled the charges against Akbar without naming him. On October 8, using her Twitter handle, she named the editor-turned politician.
However, Mr.Akbar told the Court that the concocted and fabricated allegations of sexual misconduct against him that too after two decades, has caused irreparable "damage" to his reputation.
Mr. Akbar has sued Ramani for defaming him and sought her prosecution under Sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
On October 19 last year, the Patiala House Court while considering the merits of the case took cognizance of his complaint under Sections 499 and 500 (punishment for defamation) of the IPC, which attracts punishment with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.
It was also alleged that at the time of publishing article in Vogue, his name was not mentioned in it and when she had been asked about it, she said that it was so because he did nothing. But the allegations have caused immediate damage to Akbar's reputation built in the last 40 years as her derogatory tweets were picked up instantly by various online publications and social media.