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HomeNewsLegalMedha Patkar Sentenced to 5 Months for Defamation Against VK Saxena

Medha Patkar Sentenced to 5 Months for Defamation Against VK Saxena

A Delhi Court sentenced Medha Patkar, leader of the Narmada Bachao Andolan, to five months of simple imprisonment on Monday in a criminal defamation case filed by Vinai Kumar Saxena in 2001

Considering Patkar’s age and health conditions, the court decided against imposing a harsher sentence, and the sentencing will be suspended for 30 days.

Compensation Ordered

Metropolitan Magistrate Raghav Sharma of Saket Courts also ordered Patkar to pay Rs. 10 lakh as compensation to Saxena for the damage caused.

Background of the Case

Patkar was convicted on May 24 for criminal defamation under Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. The case dates back to 2001 when Saxena, then the Chief of the Ahmedabad-based NGO National Council for Civil Liberties, filed the defamation suit against Patkar.

Accusations and Claims

The issue stemmed from a press note dated November 25, 2000, titled “True Face of Patriot,” where Patkar accused Saxena of being involved in hawala transactions and called him a coward and not a patriot. She also claimed that a cheque for Rs. 40,000 given by Saxena to the Lok Samiti had bounced due to a non-existent bank account.

Legal Proceedings

After the complaint was filed, an MM court in Ahmedabad took cognizance of the offence under Section 500 of IPC and issued a process against Patkar. The complaint was transferred to a CMM Court in Delhi in 2003 following a Supreme Court order. Patkar pleaded not guilty and opted for a trial in 2011.

Court’s Observations

The court found that Patkar’s actions were deliberate and malicious, aimed at tarnishing Saxena’s reputation, causing significant harm to his standing. Her statements were deemed defamatory and intended to incite negative perceptions. The judge concluded that labeling Saxena as a “coward” and “not a patriot” was a direct attack on his personal character and national loyalty. Patkar failed to provide evidence to counter these claims or to show that she did not foresee the harm her statements would cause.

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