The Gujarat High Court has granted interim stay on further proceedings against Delhi Lieutenant Governor (LG) VK Saxena in a case involving an alleged assault on social activist Medha Patkar in 2002. The case is currently pending before a trial court.
Justice MK Thakker has provided temporary relief to Saxena by staying any additional legal actions against him in the trial court until his plea challenging a metropolitan court’s decision is resolved. The plea seeks to put the trial on hold until Saxena completes his term as Lieutenant Governor of the National Capital Territory of Delhi.
Furthermore, the court has issued notices to the state government and complainant Medha Patkar, scheduling the matter for further hearing on June 19.
Previously, on May 8, metropolitan magistrate P C Goswami denied Saxena’s request to stay the trial proceedings in the case, which dates back to April 10, 2002. It was alleged that Saxena, along with three others, had assaulted Patkar during a peace meeting held at the Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad.
During the hearing in the High Court, Saxena’s lawyer argued that the metropolitan court had made an erroneous observation regarding the examination of witnesses, suggesting that if protection is granted to Saxena, the witness examination would need to be restarted, causing further delays in the trial.
The lawyer highlighted that this observation by the metropolitan court is flawed, as even if the trial concludes, Saxena cannot be taken into custody due to the protection provided under Article 361 of the Constitution. This article grants legal immunity to Presidents and Governors from criminal proceedings.
The Gujarat High Court’s decision to temporarily halt the proceedings against Delhi LG Saxena provides respite to the Lieutenant Governor, allowing him to focus on his official duties until the matter is resolved. The court will continue to hear the case and evaluate the arguments presented by the state government, complainant Medha Patkar, and Saxena’s legal representatives in the coming weeks.
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