NBA activist Medha Patkar has got a relief from a Delhi court which cancelled a non-bailable warrant against her for non-appearance in cross-defamation cases filed by her and KVIC Chairman V K Saxena, but warned her to be “careful in future”. She had moved against the May 29 order through which the court had issued the NBW taking strong exception for her absence and saying that the grounds taken by her were “not convincing” and “do not inspire confidence of the court”.
Metropolitan Magistrate Vikrant Vaid allowed Patkar’s plea for cancellation of NBW and posted the next date of hearing on the defamation cases for August three. “Considering the plea taken in the application and in the facts and circumstances of the case, NBW of accused Medha Patkar stands cancelled. Accused is warned to be careful in future. Copy of this order be sent to the concerned police station. Accordingly, application stands disposed of. Now to come up on August 3, 2017,” the judge said.
Earlier, the activist through a proxy counsel had said she was attending a protest in a Madhya Pradesh village and had not been able to get a confirmed train ticket to come to Delhi to appear in the cases involving her and Saxena. The court had on May 29 said it was incumbent upon her to have made the arrangements for her return to Delhi for appearance, while noting that the matter was at the stage of rosecution evidence and Section 273 of the CrPC mandates the presence of the accused at this stage.
V K Saxena, President of Ahmedabad-based NGO National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL), and Patkar have been embroiled in a legal battle since 2000 having filed cross defamation cases against each other, after she had filed a suit against him for advertisements published against herself and the NBA by him. Patkar had filed a defamation case against Saxena, who in turn, had filed two lawsuits against her.
The court had in January 2015 imposed a cost of Rs 3,000 on Patkar for non-appearance before it giving her the “last and final opportunity” to appear before it.