MJ Akbar versus Priya Ramani: Case shifted to district and sessions court

Stating that his courtroom was not the competent court of jurisdiction, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Vishal Pahuja transferred Monday the criminal defamation suit filed by former union minister MJ Akbar against journalist Priya Ramani, to the court of the principal district and sessions judge.

The trial in the two-year-old case was in its final stages, and both sides presented their concluding arguments. Citing a 2016 SC case, Ashwani Kumar Upadhyay versus Union of India and another, which pertained to the creation of special courts to fast track cases against MPs and MLAs, the ACMM said special courts including his own were designated for trial of cases against MP/MLAs. “As the pre-sent matter is not filed against MP/MLA, hence, cannot be tried by this court and needs to be transferred to the Competent Court of Jurisdiction,” it said.

Directing that the complete file of the Akbar versus Ramani case be sent to the principal district and sessions judge, the ACMM said that “further appropriate orders” could be expected on Wednesday. Akbar filed a defamation suit in 2018 after Ramani made an allegation of sexual misconduct against him.

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