Gujarat HC stays proceedings against Delhi LG VK Saxena in 2002 assault case

The Gujarat High Court has halted the trial of Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena in an alleged assault case filed by activist Medha Patkar. The court cited constitutional protection provided to Saxena as long as he remains in the position of LG. The case stems from a complaint filed by Patkar in 2002, accusing Saxena and three others of assaulting her. The Gujarat High Court issued a restraining order to a lower court in Ahmedabad, preventing it from proceeding with the trial against the Delhi LG. The court acknowledged Saxena’s argument that he is protected under the Constitution while holding the LG office and stated that his counsel’s arguments require further consideration. Additionally, notices were issued to Patkar. Saxena’s counsel also pointed out that the delay in the 2002 trial was caused by Patkar’s 94 adjournment applications.

In the petition, Saxena contented that Patkar “falsely implicated” him as he had exposed her “anti-Gujarat” and “anti-Sardar Sarovar Project” activities under the guise of ‘Narmada Bachao Andolan’ in the year 2000.His counsel submitted that the Delhi LG has been ab intio vigorously defending the “motivated, vexatious and vindictive” prosecution instituted by the complainant, Medha Patkar.Saxena, who has challenged the May 8, 2023 order of the trial court, also sought an interim stay on further proceedings which was granted by the High Court.

“Meanwhile, ad-interim relief (of stay of Trial Court order) in terms of para 11 (B) qua the present petitioner (VK Saxena) Direct service is permitted,” said Justice M K Thakker in the interim order passed on May 23.The HC said the contentions raised by Saxena’s counsel “requires consideration” and issued notices to Patkar and the state returnable on June 19.
Senior advocate Jal S Unwalla and advocate Ajay Kumar Choksi, appearing for the LG, submitted that he has been protected by Article 361 (2) (3) of the Constitution and the trial court has arrived at apparently erroneous findings that granting protection to him and recording statements of witnesses after he demits office of LG would delay the trial.

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