Defamation case: Court puts Medha Patkar on trial



New Delhi: A Delhi court on Tuesday paved the way for the trial of Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) activist Medha Patkar by framing charges againt her in a defamation case filed by an NGO chief in 2001 following a news report on an online portal.

Metropolitan Magistrate Munish Markan framed charges against Patkar under section 500 of IPC (defamation) which entails a maximum punishment of two years jail.

The court passed the order on a defamation suit filed by V K Saxena, President of Ahmedabad-based NGO, National Council for Civil Liberties, alleging 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.

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.

She 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 earlier.

During today's hearing, advocate V K Ohri, appearing for Patkar, alleged Saxena was an "agent of Gujarat government", a charge refuted by Saxena who, in turn, alleged Patkar was an "agent of foreign elements".

Ohri argued if there was anything defamatory in the news report, the website, which had carried it, should be prosecuted and not Patkar. He further said it was not verified whether the person mentioned in the news report was the same V K Saxena.

PTI