Defamation case: Delhi court reserves Medha Patkar's sentencing for July 1

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | June 07, 2024 IST

Defamation case: Delhi court reserves Medha Patkar's sentencing for July 1

New Delhi, June 7: A Delhi court on Friday reserved its order on sentencing Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) activist Medha Patkar, who has been convicted in a defamation case filed by Delhi Lieutenant Governor (L-G) V.K. Saxena, for July 1. 

Metropolitan Magistrate Raghav Sharma of the Saket Courts reserved the order after considering a victim impact report (VIR) submitted by the Delhi Legal Services Authority (DLSA).

The VIR is prepared post-conviction to evaluate the extent of loss suffered by the victim, which assists in determining the appropriate sentence for the convict.

On May 24, the Metropolitan Magistrate convicted Patkar in the case, marking an important development in a prolonged legal battle spanning over two decades between Patkar and Saxena, who was the head of the Ahmedabad-based NGO, National Council for Civil Liberties, when the legal disputes began in 2000.

At the last hearing, the parties concluded their arguments in the matter of sentencing.

Saxena, the complainant, had submitted written arguments stressing the necessity of imposing the maximum sentence on Patkar. The submission cited several critical points to support his call for stringent punishment.

Firstly, the 'criminal history' and 'antecedents' of Patkar were brought to the court's attention, showcasing a persistent defiance of the law that is a "characteristic of the accused".

This defiance was further evidenced by the admonishment of the NBA by the Supreme Court for false pleadings.

The seriousness of the offence of defamation was also stressed upon, equating it with 'moral turpitude'.

Such a 'serious offence', argued the complainant, called for stringent punishment, especially as there is no evidence that Patkar respects the law.

Patkar is identified as a 'habitual offender' by the complainant, citing another defamation case from 2006 that is still pending adjudication before the court.

The complainant also claimed that Patkar shows no concern for social control and defies ethical and moral justifications, aggravating circumstances that indicate her culpability based on her past conduct and 'criminal history'.

The submission concluded that a deterrent punishment is necessary, adding that the "maximum sentence should be imposed to deter Patkar and set an example in society, discouraging others from engaging in similar acts that hinder the country's development".

The defamation case stems from a series of legal disputes that began in 2000. At that time, Patkar filed a suit against Saxena for publishing advertisements that she claimed were defamatory towards her and the NBA.

In response, Saxena filed two defamation cases against Patkar -- one for alleged derogatory remarks she made about him during a television appearance, while the second case involved a press statement issued by Patkar.

While convicting her, the magistrate noted that Patkar made and published imputation that the complainant had visited Malegao, praised the NBA, had issued a cheque of Rs 40,000, which came from Lal Bhai Group, and that “he was a coward and not a patriot".

Magistrate Sharma noted: “The accused by publishing the above imputation intended to harm or knew or had reason to believe that such imputation will harm the complainant's reputation.”

Advocates Gajinder Kumar, Kiran Jai, Chandra Shekhar, Drishti, and Somya Arya appeared for the L-G.

Passing the order for her conviction, Magistrate Sharma noted that reputation is one of the most valuable assets a person can possess, as it affects both personal and professional relationships, and can significantly impact an individual's standing in the society.



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Defamation case: Delhi court reserves Medha Patkar's sentencing for July 1
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Defamation case: Delhi court reserves Medha Patkar's sentencing for July 1
Defamation case: Delhi court reserves Medha Patkar's sentencing for July 1
Defamation case: Delhi court reserves Medha Patkar's sentencing for July 1
Defamation case: Delhi court reserves Medha Patkar's sentencing for July 1
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