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 reserves order in HarperCollins appeal against stay on publication of book on Asaram Bapu conviction

The appeal was heard at length by a Single Judge Bench of Justice Najmi Waziri.

Aditi Singh

The Delhi High Court today reserved order in 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 at length 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-convict in the Asaram Bapu rape case, Sanchita.

Today, at the outset, the Court asked HarperCollins and Respondent, Sanchita to see if a mid-way was possible to resolve the issue.

While observing that nothing could be done with respect to the 5,000 already printed copies, Court suggested that the publishing house may consider issuing a flyer/disclaimer along with the book.

However, after the Respondent urged the Court to consider the issue on merits, the Court proceeded to hear the parties.

In continuation of his submissions which were made yesterday, appearing for Sanchita, Senior Advocate Devdutt Kamat read the Black Friday judgment in detail.

Kamat contended that the right to free speech came with the responsibility that it did not harm the reputation of rights of others.

Article 21 prevails over Article 19(1)(a), Kamat said.

In his response, appearing for HarperCollins, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal said that even in the Black Friday judgement, a stay on the release of the movie was granted till the judgment was passed by the trial court.

He thus contended that in the present case, since the case was at the stage of appeal, no such injunction could be granted.

Yesterday, Sibal had argued that pre-publication censorship ought to be done very cautiously and not in a regular manner.

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.

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