New Delhi: A court here on Thursday advised Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar and the head of an Ahmedabad-based NGO, engaged in legal battles after filing defamation cases against each other, to settle the vexatious litigations amicably.
Patkar, whose cross-examination was to commence, appeared before the court of Metropolitan Magistrate Tyagita Singh who did not hold the proceedings.
Another Metropolitan Magistrate, who took up the case, started the proceedings by advising Patkar and V K Saxena, President of Ahmedabad-based NGO National Council for Civil Liberties, to settle their defamation cases filed against each other.
"Is there any possibility that these cases (three cases) may be compromised? It is for both of you (Patkar and Saxena) to see," the magistrate said and fixed three cases for hearing on May 23.
The court had earlier framed charges under section 500 of the IPC (defamation), which entails a maximum punishment of two years jail, against both Saxena and Patkar in two separate cases filed by them against each other.
Besides these two cases, a third case was filed by Saxena against Patkar. The magistrate listed all three cases for hearing on May 23 after their counsel said it would be convenient for them to attend the court as their clients hail from outside.
Patkar and Saxena have been locked in criminal cases of defamation against each other since 2000 after she filed a suit against him for advertisements published against her and NBA.
Patkar had filed a defamation suit for publishing an article `true face of Medha Patkar and her NBA` in 2000 in which the court has already framed charges against Saxena.
The court had earlier paved the way for the trial of Patkar by framing defamation charges against her on the suit filed by Saxena.
Saxena had alleged a news report based on NBA`s press release was published on a website claiming he had donated Rs 40,000 to NBA through another NGO.
During the last hearing on November 1 last, Patkar`s counsel had alleged Saxena was an "agent of Gujarat government".
However, Saxena, who refuted the charge, had alleged Patkar was an "agent of foreign elements". He had earlier accused NBA of receiving foreign funds
through hawala channel.