Prominent Bollywood celebrities, including actors Taapsee Pannu, Richa Chadha and filmmaker Onir, on Wednesday hailed the acquittal of journalist Priya Ramani in the criminal defamation case against Mr. J. Akbar over allegations of sexual harassment.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ravindra Kumar Pandey dismissed the complaint filed by Mr. J. Akbar, saying no charges have been proven against Ms. Ramani.
Celebrities called the judgment a defining moment for women and their fight against sexual harassment in the workplace.
Speaking to Twitter, Tapsee Pannu said the verdict instilled in him faith in justice at a time when the world seemed bleak.
“Amid all the wrongs and wrongs happening around, it has brought a glimmer of hope that somewhere something is holding our hope in justice alive. Long live truth and justice,” the actor wrote.
Richa Chadha wrote: “I hope Mr. Burns will spend the rest of his disgraced life in a radioactive den.”
Journalist Priya Ramani made an allegation of sexual misconduct against Akbar following the #MeToo movement in 2018.
In response, Akbar filed a lawsuit against Ms Ramani for allegedly defaming her by accusing her of sexual misconduct decades ago.
Onir called the Delhi court’s verdict a “landmark judgment”.
“It’s spectacular. A landmark judgment in matters of sexual harassment. It is important that the court emphasizes that it is not limited in time. Incredible #PriyaRamani #Rebeccajon,” he tweeted.
Writer-editor Apurva Asrani said Ms Ramani’s acquittal was a “relief” for those women who found the courage to call their attackers, but said it was only half the battle won.
“MJ Akbar must be held responsible for the harassment she suffered. #MeToo, ”he wrote.
Actor Mini Mathur said: “Priya Ramani is acquitted. Having to defend her harassment charges against a powerful man is a huge step forward for women speaking out against sexual harassment. shout to her lawyer Rebecca John as well #justice. “
Singers Chinmayi Sripaada and Sona Mohapatra, who had posted their own stories of sexual harassment in the wake of the #MeToo movement, also welcomed the judgment.
“We have the right to identify and expose our attackers. File a case when we have the strength and support to do so. #PriyaRamani,” Chinmayi Sripaada tweeted.
Sona Mohapatra said, “Mr. MJ Akbar’s reputation is one that stinks. So protecting it would mean harming an entire society and its dignity. This case is a matter for the protection of # India. Not just its women but also all the good people of this country. #Thank you #PriyaRamani for holding on. @IndiaMeToo “
MJ Akbar, who resigned as Union Minister in October 2018, has denied all allegations of sexual harassment by women that came out during the #MeToo campaign against him.
Reacting to the judgment, Priya Ramani said that “it is great to have your truth validated in court.”
“It’s amazing, really. I feel justified on behalf of all the women who have spoken out against sexual harassment in the workplace.
“It was I, the victim, who had to stand up in court as the accused. I thank all those who supported me, especially my witnesses Ghazala Wahab and Niloufer Venkatraman, who came to court and testified on my behalf. ” Ramani said, thanking lawyer Rebecca John and her team for putting their heart and soul into the case.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)