Asaram bapu
Asaram bapu
Litigation News

Delhi Court stays publication of a book on Asaram Bapu by HarperCollins

The book titled 'Gunning for the Godman: The True Story Behind Asaram Bapu’s Conviction' was scheduled to be released on September 5.

Aditi Singh

A Delhi Court has granted an granted ex parte ad interim injunction restraining the publication of a book on Asaram Bapu titled ‘Gunning for the Godman: The True Story Behind Asaram Bapu’s Conviction’. (Sanchita vs SCroll & Ors)

The stay order was passed by Additional District Judge, RL Meena, in a suit preferred by co-accused in the Asaram Bapu rape case, Sanchita (Plaintiff).

The Plainitff was represented by Advocate Vijay Aggarwal.

Authored by Ajay Lamba, Additional Commissioner of Police, Jaipur and Sanjiv Mathur, the book is being published by Harper Collins and was scheduled to be released on September 5, 2020.

The Plaintiff approached the Court after she came across an excerpt of the book on digital publishing platform, Scroll.

In her civil suit before the Court, the Plaintiff contended that while the book claims to be a true story, it is at variance with the trial record.

The book is a one-sided narration of events, which has the intent and/or the effect of defaming the Plaintiff, it was argued.

Further, since the appeal against the conviction is sub-judice before the Rajasthan High Court and the sentence has already been suspended, the Plaintiff contended that the publication of the book, in its present form, could not be allowed as it would prejudice the Plaintiff's case and run counter to her rights under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

Apart from the authors and the publication house, the Plaintiff has made Scroll and its Editor-in-Chief as parties to the suit.

It was asserted that Scroll chose to publish the ex facie defamatory statements and contents from the book, without undertaking an independent fact check.

The Plaintiff thus sought to vindicate her rights and reputation and to ensure that the defamatory statements, imputations, assumptions and innuendo in the article and the book do not cause further injury.

After perusing the excerpt published by Scroll and the submissions made by the Plaintiff, the Court noted that since the appeal against the conviction was sub-judice, the Plaintiff was entitled to an ex parte injunction.

“Some parts of the said article ..which has reference of plaintiff and the said paras are in nature of defamatory against the plaintiff, particularly, when the matter is sub-judice.. I am of the considered view that plaintiff’s reputation is at stake and her reputation would suffer irreparable harm, if the ex parte injunction is not granted particularly when the said book is going to be published on 05.09.2020.Therefore, defendants are restrained from publishing the said book.. till the next date of hearing.”
Delhi Court

Defendants include Amazon and Flipkart.

Issuing summons in the suit, the Court listed the matter for hearing on September 30.

The suit was filed by Advocates Naman Joshi and Karan Khanuja.

Read the Order:

Order - Sanchita v. Scrolll and Ors..pdf
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