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L-G VK Saxena seeks maximum punishment for Medha Patkar in defamation case (Ld)

30 May, 2024 19:05 IST|Sakshi Post

New Delhi, May 30 (IANS) A Delhi court on Thursday adjourned the awarding of sentence to Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) activist Medha Patkar, who has been convicted in a defamation case filed by Delhi Lieutenant Governor (L-G) V.K. Saxena, to June 7.

On May 24, Metropolitan Magistrate Raghav Sharma of Saket Courts convicted Patkar in the case, marking an important development in a prolonged legal battle spanning over two decades between Patkar and Saxena, who was the head of the Ahmedabad-based NGO, National Council for Civil Liberties, when the legal disputes began in 2000.

On Thursday, the parties concluded their arguments in the matter of sentencing after which the judge posted the matter for next hearing on June 7.

Saxena, the complainant, has submitted written arguments stressing the necessity of imposing the maximum sentence on Patkar. The submission cites several critical points to support his call for stringent punishment.

Firstly, the 'criminal history' and 'antecedents' of Patkar have been brought to the court's attention, showcasing a persistent defiance of the law that is a 'characteristic of the accused'.

This defiance is further evidenced by the admonishment of the NBA by the Supreme Court for false pleadings.

The seriousness of the offence of defamation has also been stressed upon, equating it with 'moral turpitude'. Such a 'serious offence', argues the complainant, demands stringent punishment, especially as there is no evidence that Patkar respects the law.

Patkar is identified as a 'habitual offender' by the complainant, citing another defamation case from 2006 that is still pending adjudication before the court.

The complainant also claimed that Patkar shows no concern for social control and defies ethical and moral justifications, aggravating circumstances that indicate her culpability based on her past conduct and criminal history.

The submission concluded that a deterrent punishment is necessary, adding that the "maximum sentence should be imposed to deter Patkar and set an example in society, discouraging others from engaging in similar acts that hinder the country's development".

The defamation case stems from a series of legal disputes that began in 2000. At that time, Patkar filed a suit against Saxena for publishing advertisements that she claimed were defamatory towards her and the NBA.

In response, Saxena filed two defamation cases against Patkar -- one for alleged derogatory remarks she made about him during a television appearance, while the second case involved a press statement issued by Patkar.

While convicting her, the magistrate noted that Patkar made and published imputation that the complainant had visited Malegao, praised NBA, had issued a cheque of Rs 40,000, which came from Lal Bhai Group, and that “he was a coward and not a patriot".

Magistrate Sharma noted: “The accused by publishing the above imputation intended to harm or knew or had reason to believe that such imputation will harm complainant's reputation.”

Advocates Gajinder Kumar, Kiran Jai, Chandra Shekhar, Drishti, and Somya Arya appeared for the L-G.

Passing the order for her conviction, Magistrate Sharma noted that reputation is one of the most valuable assets a person can possess, as it affects both personal and professional relationships, and can significantly impact an individual's standing in society.

Disclaimer: This story has not been edited by the Sakshi Post team and is auto-generated from syndicated feed.

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