Activist Medha Patkar convicted in defamation case: ’Calling Delhi L-G Saxena coward not only defamatory but...

A Delhi court judge said on Friday that activist Medha Patkar's actions were deliberate and malicious, “aimed at tarnishing Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena's good name and have caused substantial harm to his standing and credit”.

Livemint
First Published24 May 2024
Activist Medha Patkar speaking during 'Kisan Mazdoor Mahapanchayat' .
Activist Medha Patkar speaking during ’Kisan Mazdoor Mahapanchayat’ .(Hindustan Times)

Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar was convicted in a criminal defamation case on Friday. Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena had lodged the case against her in 2001. The Delhi court

Delhi's Metropolitan Magistrate Raghav Sharma found Patkar guilty of criminal defamation under Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

Under the relevant law, the activist may get a jail term of two years or fine or both as the punishment, news agency PTI reported.

Patkar and Saxena were locked in a legal battle since 2000. Patkar had earlier filed a suit against Saxena for publishing advertisements against her and the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA). Saxena was then the chief of Ahmedabad-based NGO National Council for Civil Liberties.

Saxena had later filed two cases against her for making derogatory remarks against him on a TV channel and issuing a defamatory press statement.

As per Live Law, Saxena had filed the case in 2001 against Patkar for defaming him in a press note dated November 25, 2000, titled "true face of patriot.”

In the press note, Patkar had reportedly said Saxena was a coward and not a patriot.

What Delhi court said while convicting Patkar?

The Delhi court judge said on Friday that Patkar's actions were deliberate and malicious, aimed at tarnishing Saxena's good name and have caused substantial harm to his standing and credit.

“The accused's statements, calling the complainant a coward, not a patriot, and alleging his involvement in hawala transactions, were not only defamatory per-se but also crafted to incite negative perceptions,” the court was quoted by Live Law as saying.

The judge also concluded that Patkar's decision to label the complainant as a "coward" and "not a patriot" was a direct attack on his personal character and loyalty to the nation.

“Such allegations are particularly grave in the public sphere, where patriotism is highly valued, and questioning someone's courage and national loyalty can cause irreversible damage to their public image and social standing,” the court said.

The matter will now be heard for arguments on sentence on May 30.

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HomeNewsIndiaActivist Medha Patkar convicted in defamation case: ’Calling Delhi L-G Saxena coward not only defamatory but...

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