1 Jul 2024

Court sentences Medha Patkar to 5 months imprisonment, directs to pay Rs 10 lakh compensation; what NBA leader said?

Delhi's Saket court on Monday sentenced Narmada Bachao Andolan activist Medha Patkar to 5 months simple imprisonment.

The court has also directed her to pay a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to complainant, Delhi LG VK Saxena in a defamation case.

Judicial Magistrate (First class) Raghav Sharma sentenced Medha Patkar. However, the court suspended the sentence for 30 days to allow Patkar to challenge the judgement. She filed an application for suspension of her sentence.

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

The court also said, "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."

While pronouncing the order, the court said that considering her age, ailment and duration, it is not giving severe punishment. The court said that her prayer for release on condition of probation of good conduct is rejected.

The court also said that the convict could not produce any evidence in her defence.

Advocate Gajinder Kumar, the counsel for VK Saxena, submitted that they do not want any compensation instead they will give it to Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DLSA).

The court said that compensation will be given to the complainant, and then you can dispose it as you wish. The court had convicted Medha Patkar on May 24 for defaming VK Saxena.

Truth can never be defeated: Medha

After the order of sentence, Medha Patkar said that truth can never be defeated and she will challenge the court's judgement.

"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," Patkar said.

Earlier, Saxena's counsel prayed the court for maximum punishment to Medha Patkar.

On the other hand, counsel for Medha Patkar prayed for releasing her on probation of good condition in view of her age.

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