The Delhi High Court Tuesday refused to entertain a plea seeking direction to the Centre and Delhi government to ban the sale and publication of Congress leader Salman Khurshid’s book “Sunrise Over Ayodhya: Nationhood In Our Times”.
A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh pulled up the petitioner for not impleading the author of the book or publication house as a party to the plea, saying he was a “chance taking petitioner” who has filed the plea for “publicity”.
“You want complete ban on the book but you have not made the author a party. You may ask any heaven or sky. We may dismiss it with costs. You are not joining the author as a party. Stop doing this activity in court. Why are you feeling so shy and not joining the author as a party. We will not give you any chance, this is a deliberate move. These are all chance taking petitioners. It is for publicity,” the bench said.
After sometime, the petitioner’s counsel sought permission to withdraw the petition and file a fresh one with proper averments, annexures and joining proper persons as parties.
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The court allowed him to withdraw the petition and disposed it of as withdrawn.
“He has no courage to join Salman Kurshid as a party, what type of PIL he will argue. If you are so much worried about the name of the author or the senior advocate, you should not have filed the PIL. These are blackmailing or publicity petitions. This is a waste of time PIL,” the bench said.
Petitioner Rakesh, in his plea through advocates A K Dubey and Pawan Kumar, alleged that Khurshid has misused his fundamental right to freedom of expression in a very complex manner as it is not absolute and carries with it special duties and responsibilities towards public interest.
It said there are 90 crore Hindus in the country and if anyone takes offence of such statements made in the book, it could become a law and order problem in the society.
“Salman Khurshid has written in the chapter …. That ‘Sanatan Dharma and classical Hinduism known to sages and saints was being pushed aside by a robust version of Hindutva, by all standards a political version similar to the jihadist Islam of groups like ISIS and Boko Haram of recent years,” it said.
Khurshid’s new book on the Ayodhya dispute was released recently.
On November 17, an additional civil judge here had refused to grant an ex-parte injunction on a lawsuit by Hindu Sena president Vishnu Gupta to stop the publication, circulation, and sale of the book for allegedly hurting sentiments of a large section of society.
While declining interim relief, the trial court had said the author and publisher had the right to write and publish the book.