Indian minister in #MeToo storm announces resignation

MeToo Court to examine MJ Akbar witnesses in defamation case against Priya Ramani on October 31

MeToo Court to examine MJ Akbar witnesses in defamation case against Priya Ramani on October 31

An Indian government minister resigned on Wednesday (Oct 17), saying he was doing so in order to fight accusations of sexual harassment levelled by more than a dozen women, the most high-profile casualty of a growing #MeToo movement.

Akbar said in a statement that he would "challenge false accusations" in a personal capacity, referring to a criminal case he filed Monday against the first woman to accuse him.

The string of accusations against Akbar began when journalist Priya Ramani identified him on Twitter on October 8 as the unnamed editor that she had described in a story about newsroom sexual harassment published in Vogue past year.

Around 20 journalists came forward and alleged the former editor of sexual harassment under #MeToo campaign on social media. Earlier this week HuffPost India shared another account by a woman who was allegedly harassed by Akbar while working with him as a teenage intern.

Akbar, 67, has filed a defamation suit against her. "I look forward to the day when I will also get justice in court", she said on Twitter on Wednesday.

Former Senior editor MJ Akbar resigns from his post of Minister of State External Affairs MEA.

Unlike in the United States, where First Amendment rights strongly protect free speech, defamation laws in India allow the criminal prosecution of women who are unable to prove public allegations against their abusers, with a maximum jail term of two years.

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Neither Akbar nor Ramani were present in court Thursday.

In the wake of sexual harassment allegations under the #MeToo movement against M.J. The Vishakha Guidelines issued by the Honourable Supreme Court in 1997 and the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 ("POSH Act") have clearly laid down the steps to be taken to protect women at their workplaces. It added: "We in the Congress Party salute the women who stood their ground despite the brazen stance of the Modi government".

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal at the Patiala House courts took cognisance of the complaint after a brief argument by Geeta Luthra, counsel for Mr. Akbar.

The NCW has followed in the footsteps of the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW), which also created an email address for the objective.

He has called the accusations "wild and baseless".

Hours after he returned from his African tour, Akbar dismissed the allegations as "false, fabricated and deeply distressing" and stated his intention of pursuing legal action against his accusers, hiring 97 lawyers to represent him in the case.

"The official announcement could come next week", said the official, who works in the prime minister's office.

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