By The Wire Staff

New Delhi: A Delhi court has convicted environmental activist and Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar in a 13-year-old criminal defamation case filed by Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena.

Livelaw reported that Metropolitan Magistrate Raghav Sharma of Saket Courts convicted Patkar for the offence of criminal defamation under Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 in the case filed by Saxena in 2001.

Saxena, who was then head of the Ahmedabad-based NGO National Council for Civil Liberties, filed the case against Patkar for allegedly defaming him through a press note issued in November 2000.

In the press note, Patkar said that Saxena had praised NBA and given a cheque of Rs 40,000, which could not be encashed in a bank as it showed that the account did not exist. She also characterised Saxena as a coward and unpatriotic.

“Lok Samiti naively and promptly sent the receipt and the letter, which shows honesty and good record keeping then anything else. But the cheque could not be encashed and got bounced. On enquiry, the bank reported the account does not exist,” said the 2000 press note, as quoted by LiveLaw.

In 2001, the Metropolitan Magistrate Court in Ahmedabad recognised the offence under Section 500 of the IPC and initiated proceedings under Section 204 of the CrPC against Patkar. Two years later, a chief metropolitan magistrate (CMM) court in Delhi received the complaint following the orders of the Supreme Court. In 2011, Patkar pleaded not guilty and requested a trial.

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