New Delhi, December 22: Former Union minister M J Akbar Tuesday told a Delhi court that journalist Priya Ramani should have taken recourse to law instead of making allegation of sexual misconduct against him on social media.

Akbar made the submission through senior lawyer Geeta Luthra during the final hearing of a criminal complaint filed by him against Ramani for allegedly defaming him by accusing him of sexual misconduct 20 years ago when he was a journalist, news agency PTI reported.

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

During the hearing, the counsel termed the delay in lodging an FIR as an important factor.

“What can you do on social media? You can’t fight with everyone. People on responsible position like journalists should not make such allegations on social media. They should come to court instead… You (Ramani) did not take the recourse to any law,” she said.

The counsel further said that Ramani named Akbar in 2018 without any good faith or bona fide. “She names him in 2018 for reasons where I can’t see any good faith or bona fide. Everyone’s reputation is dear to them. There are persons to whom their reputation is dearer than life,” the counsel said.

The Court will hear the matter further on December 24.

Ramani had earlier said her allegations of sexual misconduct against Akbar were her truth and made in public good. Ramani disputed Akbar’s claims of having a stellar reputation that had been tarnished by her allegation.

Akbar had filed the criminal defamation complaint against Ramani’s allegations in October 15, 2018. Akbar resigned as Union minister on October 17, 2018. He had earlier told the court that Ramani defamed him by calling him with adjectives such as ‘media’s biggest predator’ that harmed his reputation. He has denied all the allegations of sexual harassment against the women who came forward during the #MeToo campaign against him.

Over 20 women came up with accounts of the alleged sexual harassment by Akbar while they were working as journalists under him. He termed the allegations false, fabricated and deeply distressing and said he was taking appropriate legal action against them.

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