ANI Photo | Delhi Court convicts Medha Patkar in defamation case filed by Delhi LG VK Saxena

The Saket District Court of Delhi on Friday convicted Narmada Bachao Andolan activist Medha Patkar in a 2001 defamation case filed by VK Saxena, who is now Delhi Lieutenant Governor (LG).
The Metropolitan Magistrate Raghav Sharma convicted Medha Patkar under Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code(IPC) and said it has been proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused/Medha Patkar published the imputations with the intent and knowledge that they would harm the reputation of the complainant and, therefore, committed an offence punishable under Section 500 of the IPC. She is hereby convicted of the same.
The Metropolitan Magistrate while passing the Judgement stated that it is clear that the accused’s actions were deliberate and malicious, aimed at tarnishing the complainant’s good name, and have indeed caused substantial harm to his standing and credit in the eyes of the public.
The accused’s statements, calling the complainant 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.
The court further stated that 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 is evident that the accused harboured a clear intention to defame the complainant through her press note, given the deliberate and calculated nature of her statements. By explicitly stating that the complainant was “pained with hawala transactions,” she aimed to associate him with illegal and unethical financial dealings, thereby inflicting significant harm to his reputation and standing. This assertion, without providing any substantive evidence, was a clear attempt to malign his financial integrity and create a public perception of wrongdoing.
Advocates Gajinder Kumar, Kiran Jai and Chandra Shekhar appeared for VK Saxena in the matter.
Patkar and Saxena have been embroiled in a legal battle since 2000 after she filed a suit against him for publishing advertisements against her and the Narmada Bachao Andolan. Saxena was then the chief of the National Council for Civil Liberties, an Ahmedabad-based NGO.
In the matter, the Complainant VK Saxena was the President of an organization namely the National Council of Civil Liberties, which at the relevant time was involved in issues pertaining to public interest, exposing unfair trade practices adopted by all companies and also bringing to 4 large scale, evasion of sales tax in interstate transactions and other allied public interest matters. The complainant’s organization was resolute in ensuring that the Sardar Sarovar Project, which was envisaged since a long time for the distribution of water in rural areas of Gujarat, gets timely completed.
The Court noted that, while the complainant was involved in activities, ensuring the timely completion of the Sardar Sarovar Project for larger public interest and benefit, the accused issued a press note in English dated 25 November 2000 titled “true face of patriot in which she published “V K Saxena, one who is pained by the Hawala transactions himself came to Malegaon, praised NBA and give a cheque of 40,000. Lok Samiti naively and promptly sent the receipt and the letter, which shows honesty and good record keeping than anything else. But the cheque could not be encashed and got bounced. On enquiry, the bank reported the account does not exist.”. The cheque, and press note, came from Lalbhai Group. What is the connection between Lalbhai Group and V K Saxena? Who among them is more patriot?
The complainant VK Saxena in his complaint alleges that the contents of the above-stated allegations contained innuendos, allegations, and imputations that are per-se false, non-existent, such that the words are intended to be read, made and published concerning complainant with an intention to harm and knowing and having reason to believe that such imputation will harm the reputation of the compliment. The complainant alleged that the ironical expressions and imputations made by the accused directly upon him were having a tendency and intention to lower his moral and intellectual character in the estimation of others. He alleged that the allegations of the accused lowered his credit amongst the general public of being in the state, generally considered disgraceful. The complainant alleges that the statements noted above made by the accused defamed him in public at large and Injured his character

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