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The Cause Title Of MJ Akbar’s Defamation Case Should Be Read As, MJ Akbar Through Union Of India Vs. Women Of India Through Priya Ramani: Vrinda Grover

Even before the tide has receded, the undercurrent of the backlash threatens to drown our voices.

Even before the tide has receded, the undercurrent of the backlash threatens to drown our voices.

The cause title of MJ Akbar’s defamation case should be read as, MJ Akbar through Union of India vs. Women of India through Priya Ramani.

This is our case, the struggle of and for women in the past, present and future. These defamation cases are a version of SLAPP suits. SLAPP suit or Strategic Litigation against Public Participation. In its gendered avatar SLAPP suits entail much more, this litigation will impinge on our very right to life with dignity, our right to work, our right over our bodies our right to freedom of movement, our rights as women as equal citizens.

Similar defamation suits were filed by J.Swatanter Kumar and RK Pachauri, against women, to silence them and to scare others who may speak out. RK Pachauri has even sued me for Rs. 1 crore, as I am the lawyer for two women who have accused him of sexual harassment.

I am fighting this civil defamation suit with phenomenal support, obviously pro bono, from my lawyer friends, Rebecca Mammen John, Sanjeev Sindhwani, Indira Jaising, Bhavook Chauhan, Anupam Srivastava, Harsh Bora, Ratna Appnender, Soutik Banerjee.

Samar Halankar has rightly expressed anxiety for what lies ahead for Priya Ramani and theirs family as Priya courageously forges ahead with the truth.

Legal battles are long and lonely battles, far away from the spotlight, with your name featuring in the cause list posted outside a non descript court room. A new coordinate dots your life’s landscape, Court dates. I am very, very fortunate, my lawyer friends and colleagues have never for a moment let me suffer the strain or burden of this litigation. Some of my feminist friends even attended Court hearings at Patiala House in solidarity.

As a feminist lawyer I have walked this tortuous road with many of my Clients.
Sooner or later, from Twitter, Facebook, TV, newspapers, the #metoo will fade, other events and news will take over…but the defamation case will continue. MJ Akbar has 97 lawyers to represent him, we must stand by each of the women inside and outside Court. The #metoo must transform into #ustoo against #himtoo.

(Vrinda Grover wrote this post on her Facebook account.)
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