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#MeToo: Disclosure of sexual harassment was for public good, Priya Ramani tells court

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NEW DELHI:

Journalist Priya Ramani

told a Delhi court on Saturday that her remarks alleging

sexual harassment

by former Union minister

M J Akbar

were “her truth” which she disclosed in “good faith” for the “public good” and, therefore, do not amount to

defamation

.

Ramani submitted this before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vishal Pahuja through her lawyer during the final hearing of a private criminal defamation complaint filed by

Akbar

against her.

During the #MeToo movement, Ramani in 2018 accused Akbar of sexual misconduct around 20 years ago when he was a journalist.

Akbar resigned as Union minister on October 17, 2018.

Senior advocate Rebecca John, appearing for Ramani, told the court on Saturday that as per law it is not defamation to impute anything which is true concerning any person if it is for the public good.

“A true imputation made in the public good is not defamation… it is not defamation to make an imputation on the character of another when it is made in good faith for the protection of his or other’s interest,” she told the court during a virtual hearing.

John further said that Priya Ramani’s alleged defamatory tweets and the Vogue article were her truth. “I am saying this is my (Ramani’s) truth… it is the truth, is in good faith, touching public good.”

The court will further hear the arguments on September 8.

Akbar had earlier told the court that Ramani had defamed him by using adjectives such as ‘media’s biggest predator’ against him that harmed his reputation.

M J Akbar has denied all the allegations of sexual harassment against the women who came forward during the #MeToo campaign against him.

Akbar had told the court that the allegations made in an article in the ‘Vogue’ and the subsequent tweets were defamatory on the face of it as the complainant had deposed them to be false and imaginary and that immediate damage was caused to him due to the false allegations by Priya Ramani.

Ramani had earlier told the court that her disclosure of alleged sexual harassment by Akbar has come at a great personal cost and she had nothing to gain from it.

She had said her move would empower women to speak up and make them understand their rights at the workplace.

Several women came up with accounts of the alleged sexual harassment by M J Akbar him while they were working as journalists under him.

He has termed the allegations false, fabricated and deeply distressing and said he was taking appropriate legal action against them.

The Times of India is an Indian English-language daily newspaper owned by The Times Group. It is the third-largest newspaper in India by circulation and largest selling English-language daily in the world. according to Audit Bureau of Circulations.

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INDIA

Maratha quota: Post SC stay, Maharashtra announces sops for community

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MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government on Tuesday took several measures to give relief to the agitating Marathas, including giving community members benefits meant for EWS, in the light of the Supreme Court staying the implementation of quota in jobs and education for the community.

According to an official statement, the Maharashtra Cabinet also decided to offer jobs in Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation to heirs of those who lost lives during the Maratha quota protests.

It said action will be taken on proposals in this regard within a month of their submission.

The government’s decisions came after the Supreme Court earlier this month stayed the implementation of the 2018 Maharashtra law granting reservation to Marathas in education and jobs.

This was followed by community members staging protests on the issue in several parts of the state.

The Maratha community members will get the benefits announced by the government on Tuesday till the Supreme Court vacates the stay on quota, the statement said.

The Maharashtra government on Monday filed an application before the larger bench of Supreme Court, seeking to vacate the apex court’s stay on implementing the quota, the statement said.

“The benefits meant for economically weaker section (EWS) will be given to those from socially and economically backward category (SEBC),” the statement said.

The government said the Rajarshi Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Shikshan Shulkh Shishyavrutti Yojana, a scholarship scheme earlier meant for SEBC students, will now be made applicable to EWS students too.

“The state government has approved Rs 600 crore fund for the current fiscal. Provision will be made if there is a need for additional funds,” the statement said.

Similarly, the Panjabrao Deshmukh Hostel Maintenance Allowance Scheme meant for SEBC students will be applicable to the EWS students, the statement said.

“Rs 80 crore fund has been approved for the same. More funds will be made available if need be,” it added.

The government said substantial funds and manpower will be made available to the SARTHI institute.

The Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Research Training and Human Development Institute (SARTHI) is a non-profit government company for research, policy advocacy, training etc. for socio-economic and education development of Maratha, Kunbi communities and families dependent of agriculture.

“SARTHI has demanded Rs 130 crore fund for the current financial year. Provision will be made if more funds are required,” the statement said.

The statement said financial assistance is being provided to unemployed youth through the Annasaheb Patil Financially Backward Development Corporation, and the capital for its has been increased by Rs 400 crore.

Speaking on the process of withdrawing cases against Maratha quota protesters, the state government said only 26 were pending and action on them will be taken in a month.

Speaking to reporters after the cabinet meeting, PWD Minister Ashok Chavan said the government moved the vacation application before the Supreme Court’s larger bench after holding discussions with ministers, opposition leaders, representatives of Maratha outfits and legal experts.

Urban Development Minister Eknath Shinde, who accompanied Chavan during the press conference, said, “The chief minister and the cabinet has taken a decision that there will be no shortage of funds. These decisions will give relief to the community.”

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INDIA

Opposition parties to take message against farm bills across country: Derek O’Brien

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NEW DELHI: Indicating that the opposition pressure on the government over the farm bills was far from over, TMC MP Derek O’Brien on Tuesday said his party along with other regional parties will spread the message of how these bills “cheat” farmers, across the country.

Briefing reporters hours after an overnight protest by eight suspended MPs came to an end, O’Brien said what happened in Rajya Sabha on Sunday was “undemocratic” and “against the idea of India”.

“Our basic rights as MPs were taken away. That was the last straw. What they did was a straight fascist methodology to demolish Indian democracy. They are trying to rewrite the idea of democracy. The bills were not scrutinised, they are anti-people and anti-farmer,” alleged O’Brien, who was among the eight MPs to be suspended.

While the eight MPs held a sit-in protest in Parliament premises, the opposition parties boycotted both the Houses over the issue.

“I’ve been in politics now with the AITC for about 17 years. I have never seen the very back of Indian democracy being broken like this. Now, let me come to the core issue. This is not about some puppet, Deputy Chairman sitting there or somebody sitting there. It’s a straight fascist, farmer bill’s politics. We have never, ever seen Parliament in this situation.

“We will not sit down and allow the country, its people and the farmers be cheated. Over the next two days, all regional political parties, I use the word regional loosely to mean parties with considerable presence in a region, will reach out to every town, every village to spread this message,” he said.

Speaking on the gesture of the deputy chairman Harivansh Singh carrying morning tea for the protesting MPs on Tuesday, the TMC leader indicated that it was just optics.

“The farmers want justice not tea. Is this child’s play? First you murder democracy and then you offer tea? If it was a personal visit, then why did he have two cameras with him?” asked O’Brien.

He also said that the opposition parties are set to meet on Wednesday at 11 am to strategise their next course of action in Parliament.

Replying to a question on the numbers that the government had in Rajya Sabha to pass the bills, O’Brien questioned the BJP why it needed to field five union ministers to defend what happened in Parliament on Sunday.

“Five union ministers used the government machinery to defend the murder of democracy,” he said.

The TMC MP also pointed out that while half a dozen bills were passed in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, four of the eight MPs had resolutions on motions against them.

“You can suspend us. You cannot silence us,” he asserted.

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INDIA

Home Minister Amit Shah hails passing of J&K official languages bill

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NEW DELHI: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday described the passing of the Jammu and Kashmir Official Languages (Amendment) Bill by the Lok Sabha as a momentous day for the people of the Union Territory.

In a series of tweets, Shah also said under the legislation, special efforts will be made towards the development of major regional languages like ‘Gojri‘, ‘Pahari’ and ‘Punjabi’.

“A momentous day for the people of J&K as Jammu Kashmir Official Languages (Amendment) Bill was passed in Lok Sabha. With this historic bill…Long-awaited dream of the people of J&K comes true!,” he said.

I thank PM @narendramodi ji for his commitment towards restoring the culture of Jammu and Kashmir through this bill… https://t.co/T8ucU4FVFK

— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) 1600790419000

The home minister said Kashmiri, Dogri, Urdu, Hindi and English will now be the official languages of Jammu and Kashmir.

“Under this bill, special efforts will be made towards the development of major regional languages like ‘Gojri’, ‘Pahari’ and ‘Punjabi’,” he said.

Under this bill, special efforts will be made towards the development of major regional languages like ‘Gojri’, ‘Pa… https://t.co/hVeon7CwFL

— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) 1600790418000

The home minister said along with this, the bill will also strengthen the existing institutional structure for the promotion and development of regional languages.

“I thank PM @narendramodi ji for his commitment towards restoring the culture of Jammu and Kashmir through this bill. I also want to assure our sisters and brothers of Jammu and Kashmir that the Modi govt will leave no stone unturned to bring back the glory of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

A momentous day for the people of J&K as Jammu Kashmir Official Languages (Amendment) Bill was passed in Lok Sabha.… https://t.co/TdSM2E9wCW

— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) 1600790418000

The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed the bill under which Kashmiri, Dogri and Hindi, apart from the existing Urdu and English, will be the official languages in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

Introducing the Jammu and Kashmir Official Languages Bill, 2020, Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy said it was a demand of the people of Jammu and Kashmir that the language they speak should be the official language.

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