Gunning For the Godman: The True Story Behind Asaram Bapu's Conviction and Delhi HC
Gunning For the Godman: The True Story Behind Asaram Bapu's Conviction and Delhi HC
Litigation News

Delhi HC hears HarperCollins appeal against stay on publication of book on Asaram Bapu conviction

The appeal was heard in detail by a Single Judge Bench of Justice Najmi Waziri.

Aditi Singh

The Delhi High Court today heard HarperCollins appeal against the ex parte interim injunction restraining the publication of a book on Asaram Bapu titled ‘Gunning for the Godman: The True Story Behind Asaram Bapu’s Conviction’. (HarperCollins vs Sanchita)

The appeal was heard in detail by a Single Judge Bench of Justice Najmi Waziri.

HarperCollins' appeal was directed against the stay order passed by the trial court in a suit preferred by co-accused in the Asaram Bapu rape case, Sanchita.

The Court issued notice in the appeal to the Accused-Plaintiff, Sanchita.

Flipkart and Amazon were deleted as parties after it was pleaded that they were not necessary parties to the list.

Arguing against the ex parte injunction order, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal contended that the Accused-Plaintiff had not come with clean hands before the trial court.

It was submitted that the Accused-Plaintiff not only failed to inform the trial court that the allegedly defamatory content was based on trial record and judgment but also did not produce a copy of the order convicting her in the Asaram Bapu rape case.

Senior Advocate Sibal also remarked that the Accused-Plaintiff waited until the eve of the publication to seek a stay when the public announcement with respect to the book launch was done in July.

Therefore, contending that pre-publication censorship ought to be done very cautiously, Senior Advocate Sibal prayed that the ex parte injunction be set aside.

Appearing for the Accused-Plaintiff, Senior Advocate Devdutt Kamat argued that her right to reputation and fair trial ought to be balanced with the right under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.

Stating that the appeal against the conviction was still pending, Senior Advocate Kamat claimed that there was a continuation of trial and irreparable injury would be caused to the Accused-Plaintiff if the publication of the book is allowed.

After partially recording the submissions of the parties in the order, the Court adjourned hearing in the matter till tomorrow.

The book, ‘Gunning for the Godman: The True Story Behind Asaram Bapu’s Conviction’, is authored by Ajay Lamba, Additional Commissioner of Police, Jaipur and Sanjiv Mathur, and was scheduled to be released on September 5, 2020.

Last week, the Court of Additional District Judge had stayed the publication of the book on the ground that the appeal against the conviction in the rape case was sub-judice before the Rajasthan High Court.

Convict Sanchita had argued that allowing the publication of the book would prejudice her appeal and run counter to her rights under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

It was claimed that the book was a one-sided narration of events and did not even follow the trial record.

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