Medha Patkar Sentencing Arguments Concluded in Defamation Case

A Delhi court concluded the sentencing arguments in a defamation case against activist Medha Patkar, filed by Delhi LG V K Saxena. Convicted of criminal defamation, Patkar faces up to two years in prison. Defense cited her age and health, while prosecution pushed for maximum punishment citing repeated offenses.

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 30-05-2024 19:09 IST | Created: 30-05-2024 19:09 IST
Medha Patkar Sentencing Arguments Concluded in Defamation Case
Medha Patkar
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A court here on Thursday concluded hearing the arguments on sentencing activist Medha Patkar in a defamation case lodged against her by incumbent Delhi lieutenant governor V K Saxena when he headed an NGO in Gujarat.

Metropolitan Magistrate Raghav Sharma, who had convicted Patkar of criminal defamation under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), also sought a victim impact report (VIR) from the Delhi Legal Services Authority (DLSA). The report is prepared after the conviction of an accused to assess the quantum of loss suffered by the victim. During the arguments, Saxena's lawyer sought maximum punishment for Patkar, saying an example needed to be set. The offence entails a maximum punishment of simple imprisonment of up to two years or fine or both.

Saxena's counsel said Patkar had committed a "repeat offence of the same nature" in 2006 and another defamation case filed by the current LG was pending before the present court.

The circumstances against Patkar, including the activist's past conduct of defying the law, were ''aggravating'', the lawyer claimed. Patkar's counsel, however, countered the arguments saying there were no aggravating circumstances, nor was there any "repeat offence." He said there were several mitigating circumstances such as Patkar being 70-year-old and suffering from several ailments.

After submitting some medical records, the lawyer said Patkar had received 28 national awards and five international awards, including the 'The Right Livelihood Award', widely regarded as the alternative to the Nobel prize.

''I would only urge the court to consider...,'' he said. His contentions were again briefly rebutted by Saxena's counsel.

Noting that the arguments on sentencing were complete, the court sought the VIR from the DSLA and posted the matter for further proceedings on June 7. In its conviction order dated May 24, the court had observed that Patkar's statements calling Saxena 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 about him.

Also, the accusation that the complainant was ''mortgaging'' the people of Gujarat and their resources to foreign interests was a direct attack on his integrity and public service, it said.

Patkar and Saxena have been locked in a legal tussle 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 her for making derogatory remarks against him on a TV channel and issuing a defamatory press statement.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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