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The newly transferred Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Rouse Avenue Court today asked MJ Akbar and Priya Ramani if there was any scope of a settlement in the criminal defamation case. (MJ Akbar vs Priya Ramani)
"The case is compoundable. Is there any scope of a settlement?", Judge Ravindra Kumar Pandey asked.
While counsel for Ramani, Advocate Bhavook Chauhan answered in negative, Senior Advocate Geeta Luthra for MJ Akbar said that she would have to take instructions from her briefing counsel.
"Facts of the case are peculiar. I don't think it can be compounded.", Chauhan said.
In response, the Judge stated,
"If there is any possibility, the senior counsel may talk to each other. Inform the court if there is any possibility."
In October 2018, MJ Akbar had filed a criminal defamation complaint against journalist, Priya Ramani after she took to twitter to level allegations of sexual misconduct against him.
The case was at the stage of rejoinder submissions by Senior Advocate Luthra.
However, earlier this week, Judge Vishal Pahuja, who had been hearing final arguments in the matter, was transferred and the defamation case was consequently assigned to a new Judge.
As per the new Judge's direction, final arguments in the case will begin afresh.
Senior Advocate Geeta Luthra today explained the genesis of the criminal complaint and Akbar's stand to the Judge.
Before listing the matter for hearing on November 24, the Judge stated that he would give at least two days in a week to this case to expedite the hearing.