Synopsis: Since 2018, women revealing their stories of sexual assault faced many hardships. The verdict in the Priya Ramani Vs MJ Akbar case is new hope for those women.
- In 2018, Priya Ramani made allegations of harassment against MJ Akbar through Tweets and News article.
- In turn, a criminal defamation case was filed in Delhi High Court against the journalist by Union Minister.
- Recently Delhi court has acquitted Priya Ramani in the defamation case filed by a former Union minister.
What are the important observations made by the court in this case?
- One, the court accepts the fact that many women do not file complaints due to the social stigma in society.
- Two, the court said that the victim has a right to put her grievance even after years and decades.
- Three, the judgment also upholds that reputation cannot be protected at the cost of human dignity. The Right of a woman’s reputation has been guaranteed under Article 21.
What is the significance of this verdict?
- The verdict upholds women’s right to share their experiences of sexual harassment whenever they are comfortable. It also disregards claims to male respectability in a patriarchal society.
- It also approves any future moves by women in support of campaigns similar to #metoo movement.
What are the challenges faced by women while expressing their vulnerable conditions?
- Women who share their experiences of sexual harassment at the workplace are often met with harsh consequences. For example, employers, globally, are expressing an unwillingness to hire more women.
- It also challenges the Patriarchal society’s values that a privileged man cannot be punished despite their disreputable actions.
Suggestions to solve the menace of sexual harassment?
- According to an American feminist scholar, Janet Halley, the struggle for affirmative consent shall be fought in the real world and not in the courtrooms.
- According to her, the struggle for sexual consent of women should have the following features,
- One, promoting individual freedom to decide the course of one’s own sexual engagements.
- Two, affirmative consent has to be realized through legal actions by the engagement with the state.
- Questioning the male privilege and removing the gender inequality in society appears to be the best way forward for feminism in India.