MJ Akbar
MJ Akbar has been accused by more that 20 women of sexual misconductSAM PANTHAKY/AFP/Getty Images
MJ Akbar has been accused by more that 20 women of sexual misconductSAM PANTHAKY/AFP/Getty Images

MJ Akbar had stepped down as the union minister in the Ministry of External Affairs amid sexual harassment allegations levelled against him by over 20 female journalists. 

Akbar had filed a criminal defamation suit on Monday against journalist Priya Ramani, who was the first to come out and speak against him. The Patiala House Court on October 18, began the hearing on the criminal defamation case against Priya Ramani, filed by Former Union Minister MJ Akbar. 

Live Updates

2018-10-1815:40 (IST)

Next hearing scheduled on October 31

The court has scheduled the next hearing on October 31 when Akbar will also be there to record a statement. A lineup of witnesses will at the court during the hearing. 

2018-10-1814:59 (IST)

Geetha Luthra targets Priya Ramani during court hearing

"Articles in international & national media quoted these defamatory tweets. Tweets are defamatory unless Ramani proves anything," Geetha Luthra was quoted as saying by ANI. 

2018-10-1814:56 (IST)

"Women should be seen as equals," says Prakash Javadekar

Union Minister Prakash JavadekarANI
Union Minister Prakash JavadekarANI

"We have always maintained that not only at workplace but everywhere in the society women should be seen as equals, should be treated with equality. That is what we always say, there is nothing else to comment," union minister Prakash Javadekar told ANI. 

2018-10-1814:53 (IST)

Geetha Luthra delivers her statement in court

Akbar's lawyer Geeta Luthra said: "Irreparable damage caused to Akbar's reputation which he has built over 40 years."

2018-10-1814:37 (IST)

MJ Akbar absent from court proceedings

MJ Akbar has not appeared in court today, according to India Today news channel. He will instead record his statement on October 31. 

2018-10-1814:35 (IST)

Priya Ramani defended by Rebecca John

Priya Ramani has hired lawyer Rebecca John to defend her. Reports state that she was the Talwars' lawyer in the Aarushi Talwar murder case. 

2018-10-1814:20 (IST)

Priya Ramani's defence

As an accused, in a criminal defamation case, Priya Ramani can depend on the provisions under IPC and the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal)Act, 2013. This act safeguards women at the workplace and also prtoects them against false allegations. 

2018-10-1814:17 (IST)

Hearing begins on the defamation case

The hearing regarding the criminal defamation case against Priya Ramani, filed by Former Union Minister MJ Akbar has begun. 

2018-10-1814:12 (IST)

Samar Vishal is the judge presiding over the case

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal will be hearing the case. According to News18, Samar Vishal is no stranger to high profile cases. 

2018-10-1814:11 (IST)

Geetha Luthra to represent MJ Akbar

Senior advocate Geetha Luthra arrived at court to fight for ex-union minister MJ Akbar. 

2018-10-1812:17 (IST)

Editors Guild asks Akbar to drop defamation case

The Guild citing that Akbar being a former journalist asked him to drop the defamation case against Priya Ramani. they went on to say that if Akbar did not drop the case, they would stand by Ramani and the 19 other female journalists who alleged that they were sexually harassed by Akbar. 

2018-10-1810:59 (IST)

Former foreign secretary hailed Akbar's resignation

Nirupama Rao, the ex-foreign secretary stood by the #MeToo activists. She said that Akbar's continuation in the government was untenable. 

nirupama rao
Twiiter/Nirupama Menon Rao
Twiiter/Nirupama Menon Rao
2018-10-1810:48 (IST)

Defamation case to be heard at 2 pm

The criminal defamation case filed by Akbar against Priya Ramani will be heard by the Delhi Patiala High Court at 2:00 pm on Thursday. 

2018-10-1810:28 (IST)

Accusers release a statement on Akbar's resignation

Priya Ramani, Ghazala Wahab and other journalists, who have levelled sexual harassment allegations against Akbar, have released a joint statement. 

"We are happy that Mr Akbar finally did the correct thing, and in the light of all that has emerged in the last couple of days, expect that he will also drop the bogus criminal defamation case against Priya Ramani," the 20 women said in a joint statement. 

Ghazala Wahab told The Quint that Akbar should have resigned on Sunday but it is better late than never. 

Priya Ramani tweeted that the women got vindication. 

2018-10-1810:26 (IST)

Akbar steps down as union minster one day before court hearing

On Wednesday, Akbar resigned as the union minister from the Ministry of External Affairs and submitted his resignation to the President. 

This move was done one day before the court hearing of the defamation suit he filed against journalist Priya Ramani. 

2018-10-1810:20 (IST)

Akbar will have six lawyers and not 97 lawyers

Akbar has filed a criminal defamation suit against Priya Ramani through the law firm Karanjawala &Co. who filed a Vakalatnama. 

He filed a defamation case under sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code. 

It was rumoured that Akbar will have 97 lawyers fighting for him. However, only six lawyers have been named in the Vakalatnama. 

2018-10-1810:15 (IST)

MJ Akbar's statement on allegations against him

MJ Akbar was on an official trip to Nigeria when these allegations were levelled against him. He returned to New Delhi on Sunday when he issued a statement saying that the accusations against him were false and fabricated. 

According to ANI, he said," Accusation without evidence has become a viral fever among some sections. Whatever be the case, now that I have returned, my lawyers will look into these wild and baseless allegations in order to decide our future course of legal action."

MJ Akbar statement
Twitter/MJ Akbar
Twitter/MJ Akbar
2018-10-1810:09 (IST)

Ghazala Wahab wrote a piece detailing her sexual harassment by Akbar

Force magazine editor, Ghazala Wahab wrote a detailed article in The Wire, recounting her experience by Akbar who was the then editor of Asian Age and Wahab was an intern. 

After Wahab came out, at least nine other women stepped up to share their stories of sexual harassment by MJ Akbar. 

2018-10-1809:52 (IST)

Priya Ramani the first to out Akbar

On October 8, journalist Priya Ramani was the first to state that MJ Akbar sexually harassed her. She confirmed that the man she had talked about in an interview with HuffPost a year ago was MJ Akbar.