The defamation case filed by former union minister MJ Akbar against journalist Priya Ramani will continue to be heard by a special court dealing with cases related to lawmakers, directed a Delhi court on Thursday.
District and Sessions Judge Sujata Kohli at Delhi's Rouse Avenue court sent back the case to the court of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vishal Pahuja, who was earlier hearing the matter, and listed it for further hearing on November 2.
Earlier, the Rouse Avenue court had reserved its order on the issues whether the defamation case filed by Akbar against Priya Ramani would be heard by the court exclusively dealing cases MP and MLAs or not.
Appearing for Akbar, senior advocate Geeta Luthra submitted that there is no bar for a special court to hear matters that are not against MP/MLAs and urged to send the matter back to the same court of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vishal Pahuja.
Advocate Bhavook Chauhan, representing Ramani, submitted that it is upto this court to decide whether the case should be heard by magistrate Pahuja as the notification mandates that ACMM's court is specifically for parliamentarians and legislators.
However, Judge Kohli has noted that the notification for the special lawmaker court creates no bar on hearing of other non-lawmakers cases and the object behind the notification was to expedite cases against lawmakers.
Akbar's counsel advocate Sandeep Kapur said that grave prejudice is being caused to his client.
A magistrate court had earlier sent the defamation case filed by former union minister MJ Akbar against journalist Priya Ramani, to District and Sessions Judge of Rouse Avenue District court for seeking appropriate directions. The court was hearing final arguments in the matter.MJ Akbar, a former minister of state for External Affairs, had filed a defamation case against the journalist Priya Ramani for accusing him of sexual misconduct.
Akbar had on October 17, 2018, resigned as the union minister after his name cropped up on social media as the #MeToo campaign raged on in the country. Ramani had accused Akbar of sexual misconduct, a charge denied by him.