24 May 2024

Narmada Bachao Andolan Founder Medha Patkar Convicted in Defamation Case Filed by Delhi Lt Governor VK Saxena

Narmada Bachao Andolan founder, Medha Patkar, has been convicted in a criminal defamation case brought against her by Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena. The conviction, issued by Metropolitan Magistrate Raghav Sharma, could result in Ms. Patkar facing a fine, a two-year jail term, or both.

The legal dispute between Ms. Patkar and Saxena traces back to 2000 when the lieutenant governor headed the National Council for Civil Liberties, an NGO based in Ahmedabad. The activist had previously filed a case against him for running advertisements against her and the Narmada Bachao Andolan.

Saxena, in turn, lodged two cases against the activist, one for allegedly making defamatory remarks about him on a TV channel in 2006 and another for issuing a press statement deemed defamatory.

The Narmada Bachao Andolan had raised concerns about the potential impact on 40,000 families due to the construction of the Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujarat, inaugurated in 2017. The organization conducted large-scale protests, highlighting the risk of families being displaced as their homes could be submerged by the dam.

The Sardar Sarovar Dam project has been mired in controversies since its inception in 1961 when it was inaugurated by then-Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

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