VK Saxena Defamation Case: Delhi Court Sentences Medha Patkar To 5 Months Imprisonment, Directs Compensation

Medha Patkar

Delhi’s Saket court on Monday sentenced Narmada Bachao Andolan activist Medha Patkar to five months of simple imprisonment in a defamation case filed by Delhi LG VK Saxena.

The court also ordered her to pay Rs.10 lakh in compensation to Saxena.

Judicial Magistrate (First Class) Raghav Sharma issued the sentence but suspended it for 30 days to allow Patkar to appeal. Patkar has filed an application for the suspension of her sentence.

Judicial Magistrate Raghav Sharma stated, “The yardstick of justice and fairness requires that the suffering endured by the complainant be taken into account and reflected in the punishment imposed upon the accused. Releasing the convict on probation in this case, where the complainant had to fight a legal battle for 25 years, would make his efforts futile as he would be denied his right to be compensated for his harassment. Allowing probation in this case would be contrary to the principle of justice.”

Court’s Observation

The court also noted, “While the convict’s age and medical condition are factors that the court must consider, they do not absolve her of the serious nature of her offence. The unfounded accusations, such as involvement in hawala transactions and compromising the interests of Gujarat’s people for foreign entities, were designed to ruin the complainant’s public image and credibility.

The complainant experienced profound damage to his reputation, trustworthiness, and social standing. These defamatory remarks led to severe personal and professional hardships, forcing the complainant to suffer through the anguish of a drawn-out legal battle for over twenty years.”

Despite considering her age, ailment, and the duration of the case, the court decided not to impose a severe punishment but rejected her request for release on probation of good conduct. Additionally, the court noted that Patkar could not produce any evidence in her defence.

Advocate Gajinder Kumar, representing VK Saxena, stated that they would donate any compensation to the Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DLSA). However, the court directed that the compensation be given to the complainant, who could then dispose of it as he wished.

Previously In The Case

Medha Patkar was convicted on May 24 for defaming VK Saxena in a case dating back to 2001. After the sentencing, Patkar maintained her stance, saying, “The truth can never be defeated. We have not tried to defame anyone; we only do our work. We will challenge the court’s judgement.”

Earlier, Saxena’s counsel had requested the maximum punishment for Patkar, while her counsel had sought her release on probation given her age.

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About the Author: Meera Verma