New Delhi, Sep 9 (IANS) Deposing in the defamation case filed against her by former Union Minister M.J. Akbar, journalist Priya Ramani on Monday told a court here that it was important and necessary for women to speak up about sexual harassment at the workplace, and hoped that her disclosures on Akbar would empower women and help them better understand their rights.
Recording her statement as a witness in a defamation plaint filed against her by Akbar, Ramani also affirmed that her disclosures against Akbar were first made much earlier than 2018.
“I spoke the truth when I disclosed the experience of my first job interview in my Vogue article and my tweet of October 8. It was important and necessary for women to speak up about sexual harassment at the workplace. Many of us are brought up to believe that silence is a virtue.
“In all my disclosures pertaining to Mr Akbar, I spoke the truth in public interest and the public good. It was my hope that the disclosures which were a part of the MeToo movement would empower women and would help them better understand their rights at the workplace,” she told Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal at the Rouse Avenue Court.
She said the case has come at great personal cost to her. “I have nothing to gain of it. I am a well-known journalist, I live a quiet life with my family in Bangalore.”
She also said that it is not easy for any woman to make such disclosures.
“By staying silent, I could have avoided the targeting but that would not have been the right thing to do,” she added.
During her cross-examination, Ramani told the court that “it is wrong to suggest that she had made the allegations maliciously, deliberately and in bad faith to malign Akbar.
Akbar’s counsel Geeta Luthra asked Ramani whether according to her own 2013 article, there were plenty of opportunities and existing platforms to make allegations of sexual harassment against the complainant prior to 2018.
In response, Ramani said: “This is incorrect. This is wrong to suggest that I did not make these allegations against the complainant prior to 2013 as no such incident ever happened.”
“It is wrong to suggest that I didn’t name Akbar in my Vogue article since nothing happened. The article and tweets are referring entirely to Akbar,” she added.
She also said that it was wrong to suggest that her tweets and articles lowered the reputation of Akbar in the estimation of the general public and right-thinking members of society.