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Karanjawala files criminal defamation suit for ex-journo MJ Akbar over one #MeToo accuser’s tweets [READ COMPLAINT]

MJ Akbar files criminal defamation suit against #MeToo accuserMJ Akbar files criminal defamation suit against #MeToo accuser

Karanjawala & Co has filed a criminal defamation complaint for parliamentarian MJ Akbar today against a female journalist who had alleged in Tweets on 8 October that she had been sexually harassed by him while he was her boss and a senior editor.

The complaint, a copy of which we have seen, has been made under the controversial Section 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), requesting the Patiala House district court of Delhi to “prosecute and punish the Accused Person in accordance with the provision of law”.

Criminal defamation under section 499 and 500 of the IPC carries a possible maximum jail term of two years and potential fine.

The Supreme Court had upheld criminal defamation as constitutional, despite fierce criticism of its chilling effects on journalists and unfairly gagging freedom of speech.

Her Tweets outing Akbar had referenced an open letter published under her name in Vogue India magazine in October 2017, which had not named Akbar but had recounted an experience when she was 23 about her “dear male boss” editor 20 years her senior.

She had recounted an alleged job interview apparently with Akbar that was “more date, less interview”.

However, in her 8 October Tweet, she wrote: “I began this piece with my MJ Akbar story. Never named him because he didn’t ‘do’ anything. Lots of women have worse stories about this predator”.

Akbar’s criminal petition claimed that “the accused herself, while putting forward the aforementioned defamatorystatements, relating to incidents which allegedly occurred 20 years ago, simultaneously admits that the complainant has not done anything to her”.

The female journalist’s allegations had been widely re-reported and were followed by at least two other separate #MeToo accounts published in the media against Akbar, a former Telegraph and Asian Age editor.

The allegations had led to speculation about Akbar’s possible resignation until he said yesterday that he would contest the allegation.

We have reached out to her for comment.

Update 18:03: Five journalists who had accused Akbar of sexual misconduct, including the one now facing the defamation action, said they stood by their statements in the face of his legal threats, reported the Indian Express.

Read MJ Akbar complaint (PDF)

Photo by Mubasshir Mushtaq.

Click to show 30 comments
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Like +14 Object -6 Alias 15 Oct 18, 16:46  interesting  controversial
And the bullying starts. Little wonder that no law firm partner(s) will ever get outed.
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Like +11 Object -5 Bull-dog 15 Oct 18, 18:20  interesting  controversial
He is following legal process. How is this bullying?
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Like +14 Object -5 Guest 15 Oct 18, 19:10  interesting  controversial
No reason why it cannot be both. Much of our legal process involves the rich and the powerful bullying the poor and the weaker. Not that I am saying he had multiple better options available. Just that the system is rigged a lot.
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Like +2 Object -1 Janaab 17 Oct 18, 10:40
MJ Akbar cannot win either ways, right? If he loses, he was guilty....if he wins, it is bullying and system is rigged.
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Like +2 Object -1 Guest 17 Oct 18, 11:23
Clearly this is what law school has taught you. The strength of your logic and ability to derive conclusion from nowhere are nothing short of astonishing!
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Like +1 Object -2 Guest2 17 Oct 18, 14:52
@Guest: but not as much as yours
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Like +15 Object -0 Guest 16 Oct 18, 02:19  interesting  top rated
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Like +0 Object -0 Hmmm 17 Oct 18, 15:25
But they should be. LI should do a law firm #metoo
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Like +10 Object -1 K9 15 Oct 18, 17:08  interesting
Seems Karanjawala's entire office of 90+ lawyers are working on this case !

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Like +15 Object -2 Supersight 15 Oct 18, 17:24  interesting  top rated
It's a standard vakalat. Do not see everyone's signatures. Your powers of observation leave a lot to be desired as do your desires to create a controversy where there is none.
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Like +0 Object -0 oversight 16 Oct 18, 18:11
show me any other vakalatnama of Karanjawala where 97 lawyers are named.
At best 5 or so lawyers work on a case as everyone's specialization varies.
But here its obvious , so many names have been included by Karanjawala just to intimidate its opponent.
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Like +3 Object -0 Queenie 16 Oct 18, 23:20
They usually have all names. Only the ones who appear actually sign. But hey let's ignore the merits of the case because who cares about that which is not news worthy right?
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Like +0 Object -0 BB 03 Nov 18, 17:29
Bar Council of Delhi has sent a notice to Karanjawala now !
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Like +2 Object -0 Attorned 16 Oct 18, 23:18
You guys who are jumping up.and down.... Scream 97 lawyers.. 97 lawyers... It's a standard law firm vakakatnama and most usual have names if all lawyers. Have all 97 signed? NO. SO OBVIOUSLY NOT ALL 97 WILL ALPEAR. ONLY THOSE WHO SIGNED HAVE AUTHORITY TO APPEAR. Sadly many including some of those ultra free thinking leftist seniors from the SC overlooked this small detail in that zest to grab attention shine in the light of the #metoo movement and make a hue and cry about the whole thing and twat around about it without so much as a fact check. Absolutely pathetic state of affairs.
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Like +6 Object -7 Shameful 15 Oct 18, 17:49  controversial
Shocked that Karanjawala is representing MK Akbar
But then this must be dress rehearsal for Rain Karanajawlaa’s best friend defense.... for those who don’t read Page 3, that friend is Suhel Seth
Come on Manik take a stand. You have two daughters too!!
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Like +11 Object -2 Supershamed 15 Oct 18, 20:20  interesting
What is so shameful in a lawyer doing his job? What is shoxkong is the fact that you no evidencehave passed a final verdict based on no evidence... At least none that meets legal muster sans a trial.
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Like +5 Object -0 But... 16 Oct 18, 08:37  interesting
But this isn’t a sexual harassment trial, it’s a criminal defamation suit. They aren’t defending Akbar, they’re attacking those that complained against him. Do you not see that as at all different?

I’m just glad he went the criminal defamation route. Now when he’s unable to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the allegations are false, people will hopefully conclude that the charges are false and the allegations true (as they would have done had be been unsuccessfully charged for sexual harassment)
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Like +4 Object -0 ?? 15 Oct 18, 19:01
What is a criminal defamation 'suit'??
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Like +4 Object -0 Guest 15 Oct 18, 20:12
What people wearing $3000 suits file against detractors.
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Like +5 Object -1 Toxic fumes 15 Oct 18, 22:47
Yeah by someone who thinks that the whole world is out to get that person ..even old people and young kids.. [...]
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Like +7 Object -25 Guest 15 Oct 18, 21:40  controversial
Dear Mr Kian, I request you not to publish any more stories on this so-called MeToo movement. Your website is popular and respected for its coverage on happenings in the world of commercial law firms. It is better you stick to this. In the MeToo movement many allegations are being made for cheap publicity without any basis, after 20-30 years. The example of Mr Akbar shows that legal action will be initiated. There is also a clear political motivation. Kindly do not turn your website into a cheap gossip website like the Wire and Janta Ka Reporter.
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Like +4 Object -4 Alias 16 Oct 18, 09:38
And people still wonder why women don't come forward.
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Like +6 Object -4 Wired 16 Oct 18, 12:02
You call a socially conscious publication like The Wire a cheap gossip website. What kind of dark, soulless world do you live in?
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Like +1 Object -1 Sabarimalian 17 Oct 18, 13:29
Socially conscious publication??? If only... I'm surprised their walls aren't painted red in colour.
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Like +3 Object -0 seeker 16 Oct 18, 12:28
what a laudable effort which has completely gone in vain?

Although the black strip in the complaint makes an effort to hide the name of the accused, the long title totally gives it away.

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Like +1 Object -1 Legaltalk 16 Oct 18, 13:38
Legally speaking - the vakalatnama does have Sandeep Kapur's enrollment number and therefore defective. hence even the petition/complaint signed by him is defective. Secondly, is he a partner as per the partnership deed - if not - can he execute a petition/complaint on behalf of karanjawala & co?
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Like +12 Object -0 Pinku 16 Oct 18, 13:57  interesting  top rated
You deserve a job in the registry.
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