Activist Medha Patkar Receives 5-Month Jail Term in Defamation Case by Delhi Lt Governor

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Activist Medha Patkar Receives 5-Month Jail Term in Defamation Case by Delhi Lt Governor

| Updated: July 1, 2024 19:48

A Delhi court on Monday sentenced activist Medha Patkar to five months of simple imprisonment in a 23-year-old defamation case filed against her by Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena when he headed an NGO in Gujarat.

Patkar was also fined Rs 10 lakh by Metropolitan Magistrate Raghav Sharma. After taking into account the facts presented to it and the length of the case—more than two decades—the court sentenced Patkar.

To allow Patkar to appeal the ruling, the court did, however, defer the sentence for a month.

Rejecting Patkar’s appeal to release her on the condition of probation, the judge said, “Considering the facts…damages, age, and ailment (of the accused), I am not inclined to give excessive punishment.” The offence entailed a maximum punishment of simple imprisonment of up to two years or a fine or both.”

On May 24, the court had noted that Patkar’s statements calling Saxena a “coward” and alleging his involvement in hawala transactions were not only defamatory per se but also made to incite a negative impression of him.

It had also stated that the allegations against the complainant, that he was “mortgaging” Gujarat citizens and their resources to foreign interests, were an outright insult to his character and public duty. The arguments on sentencing concluded on May 30, following which the judgement on the extent of the sentence was reserved on June 7.

Patkar and Saxena have been confined in a legal battle since 2000, after she filed a suit against him for publishing advertisements against her and the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA).

Saxena, who then headed an Ahmedabad-based NGO named ‘Council for Civil Liberties’, had also filed two cases against Patkar in 2001 for using derogatory remarks against him on a TV channel and releasing a defamatory press statement.

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