Jurisdiction hitch hits Akbar’s case against Ramani

NEW DELHI: A decision on transfer of former union minister MJ Akbar’s criminal defamation suit against journalist Priya Ramani from a designated MP/MLA court will be taken by the district and sessions judge at Rouse Avenue courts on October 22.
District and sessions judge Sujata Kohli said she will pronounce her verdict on October 22 after hearing arguments from the counsels appearing for both Akbar and Ramani. The designated court for MPs and MLAs, which had been hearing the case for two years now, on Tuesday, said that the case wasn’t “filed against an MP or MLA” and therefore it could be heard by a court of “competent jurisdiction.” The hearing was at the final stage of arguments.
Senior advocate Geeta Luthra, appearing for Akbar, said she and Ramani’s counsel were “making a joint request” that the matter be sent back to the same court of additional chief metropolitan magistrate. “Two years ago it went to that court. I was on rebuttal and that’s when the court said that this court is for MP and MLA. But there is no bar. The court has heard the argument-in-chief, my friend’s (Ramani’s counsel) reply and only rebuttal is remaining,” Luthra submitted.
“Re-arguing would be troublesome but the notification has clearly stated that the special court was solely for MP/MLAs. I leave it to your honour,” said Ramani’s counsel Bhavook Chauhan.

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