M.J Akbar resigns over #MeToo movement.
(News Source : NDTV)
In the wake of the #MeToo movement growing in India, and as a result of several allegations of sexual misconduct against Minister of State for External Affairs, M. J. Akbar, the seasoned politician was forced to resign from his post last week. This is probably the first case of a very high profile person exiting his job. Whistleblower journalist Priya Ramani feels vindicated in the aftermath of the resignation of the editor-turned-politician, as do several others, including a Rajya Sabha MP.
A day later, Akbar filed a defamation suit against Ramani and accused her of vested interests in maligning his reputation on the basis of false, frivolous and scandalous grounds. Ramani now looks forward to get justice in court.
These developments led to the formation of a judicial committee by Women and Child Development minister Maneka Gandhi. The minister had announced formation of a committee of four retired judges and a lawyer to examine all issues emanating from the #MeToo movement. The panel announced by Gandhi was to look into the legal and institutional framework in place to handle complaints of sexual harassment at workplaces. Although it was announced in the wake of the #MeToo movement, the WCD ministry was of the view that the panel should be able to address complaints beyond the movement.
As a result, the ministry had proposed that the committee would hold public hearings with stakeholders and complainants on the lines of the Justice Verma committee, which had suggested guidelines for anti-rape laws that came into force in 2013.