Narmada Bachao Andolan activist Medha Patkar was on Friday convicted in a defamation case filed against her in 2001 by VK Saxena, who is now the Delhi lieutenant governor, Live Law reported.

Patkar was found guilty of criminal defamation, under Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code, by Metropolitan Magistrate Raghav Sharma of the Saket Courts in New Delhi. Patkar is liable under the law to serve two years jail time or pay a fine, or both.

At the time of filing the case, Saxena was heading the Ahmedabad-based non-governmental organisation National Council for Civil Liberties. Saxena had alleged that Patkar had defamed him in a press note tiled “True face of patriot”, which the activist had issued on November 25, 2000.

The court also observed that Patkar had accused Saxena of “mortgaging the people of Gujarat and their resources to foreign interests” and held that the allegation to be a “direct attack” on his integrity and public service.

The case was filed in an Ahmedabad court and transferred to the chief metropolitan magistrate’s court in Delhi in 2003. Patkar pleaded not guilty to the charges in 2013.

“[Patkar’s] statements, calling [Saxena] a coward, not a patriot, and alleging his involvement in hawala transactions, were not only defamatory per-se but also crafted to incite negative perceptions,” the court said in its Friday order, according to Live Law. “Such allegations are particularly grave in the public sphere, where patriotism is highly valued, and questioning someone’s courage and national loyalty can cause irreversible damage to their public image and social standing.”

The court will hear arguments on Patkar’s sentence on May 30.