Defamation Cases: Court Takes Serious Note of Patkar's Absence

New Delhi
Defamation Cases: Court Takes Serious Note of Patkar's Absence

A Delhi court today took serious note of absence of Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) activist Medha Patkar during proceedings in cross defamation cases filed by her and the head of an Ahmedabad-based NGO and asked them to reach a compromise through mediation.

Metropolitan Magistrate Vasundhra Chhaunkar took note of the submission made by V K Saxena, president of NGO National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL), that Patkar was deliberately delaying the court and mediation proceedings by staying absent or coming late.

Patkar, however, reached the court after the brief hearing concluded in the matter.

During the hearing, Saxena submitted that mediation proceedings before a mediator started late yesterday as Patkar failed to reach on time. Due to this, the hearing could not reach to its conclusion, he submitted.

The court, however, granted one more opportunity to the parties to try and settle the issue before the mediator and posted the case for October 31.

Meanwhile, in the mediation proceedings, mediator in- charge Nirja Bhatia today also posted the matter for August 27 due to Patkar's absence.

Earlier, on May 14, the court had asked Patkar and Saxena who have filed three cross defamation cases against each other, to reach a compromise through mediation as their long legal tussle was not leading anywhere.

The court had observed both Saxena and Patkar were public figures and have to come to Delhi from Ahmedabad for the cases which have been going on for the past 14 years.

On January 13, the court had imposed a cost of Rs 3,000 on Patkar for her non-appearance before it giving her "last and final opportunity" to appear.

Court has already framed charges in two cases which were listed for complainant evidence while in one case charges are to be framed against Patkar. 

Earlier on March 25 last year, both Patkar and Saxena had informed the court that it was not possible for them to reach a compromise and withdraw the defamation cases lodged against each other.

The chief of the NGO had then told the court that he had approached Patkar for a settlement but she had refused to agree to some of the clauses put by him. And hence, he was not going to settle the issue.

Patkar and Saxena have been embroiled in legal tussle since 2000, after she filed a suit against him for advertisements published against herself and NBA.

Patkar had filed a defamation case against Saxena, who in turn, had filed two lawsuits against her.

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