Delhi Court Convicts Medha Patkar in Defamation Case Filed by VK Saxena

A Delhi court on Friday found Medha Patkar, a prominent social activist and leader of the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), guilty in a defamation case. The case was lodged by Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena, . The conviction was handed down by Saket Court’s Metropolitan Magistrate Raghav Sharma, who found Patkar guilty of criminal defamation. The court may impose a punishment that includes up to two years in jail, a fine, or both.

The legal conflict between Patkar and Saxena dates back to 2000 after Patkar sued him for circulating advertisements that allegedly defamed her and the NBA. At that time, Saxena was the head of the National Council for Civil Liberties based in Ahmedabad. Additionally, Saxena filed two cases against Patkar for making derogatory remarks on a television channel and issuing a defamatory press statement against him.

In a related development last year, the Gujarat High Court granted temporary relief to Saxena by staying further proceedings in a 2002 case where he was accused of assaulting Patkar at the Sabarmati Ashram during a peace meeting following communal riots in Gujarat. This meeting was meant to promote reconciliation and peace. Along with Saxena, two BJP MLAs and a Congress leader were also implicated in the alleged assault.

Further complicating Patkar’s legal troubles, she and 12 others were charged last year in a fraud case in Barwani district, Madhya Pradesh. According to the FIR, Patkar and other trustees allegedly misled donors contributing to her trust, which was purportedly aiding the welfare of the Narmada valley’s residents in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

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