Court imposes Rs 15K cost on Medha Patkar



New Delhi: A Delhi court on Saturday imposed a cost of Rs 15,000 on NBA activist Medha Patkar for not appearing before it in defamation cases filed by her and the head of an Ahmedabad-based NGO against each other.

Metropolitan Magistrate Rajinder Singh slapped a cost of Rs 5,000 in each of the three defamation cases filed by Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) activist Patkar and V K Saxena, President of National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL), who are involved in a legal tussle for the last 13 years, after she failed to appear in court.

The court, however, allowed Patkar's plea for exemption from personal appearance for a day.

"The accused (Patkar, who is also a complainant) is absent on almost every date.... Exemption (from personal appearance) is allowed with cost of Rs 5,000 in each of the cases," the court said while asking her to appear before it on July 17.

The judge noted that the matter had been fixed for today with the direction that Patkar and Saxena should compromise and settle their differences and withdraw their defamation cases against each other, but "no such conclusion is before me".

The court on January 10 had advised the two litigants to to settle their differences and withdraw their defamation cases against each other.

Seeking exemption from personal appearance, Patkar's counsel today informed the court that she is on a hunger strike in Mumbai to protest against the demolition of Guru Kripa Society in Golibar Slum area there.

The application was opposed by Saxena's counsel Mahipal Ahluwalia who said that his client is present on almost all the dates since year 2000 after travelling all the way from Ahmedabad, but Patkar has only appeared 10 out of the 48 times the case was listed for hearing.

Meanwhile, Saxena moved an application for dismissal of complaint against him which the judge has fixed for arguments on July 17.

Saxena submitted that Patkar was absent on the last date of hearing also on the ground that she was busy in Mumbai but no documentary evidence was given.

PTI