SC upholds verdict lifting ban on Shivaji book

All hurdles on the publication and circulation of controversial book -- "Shivaji - The Hindu King in Muslim India", came to an end with the Supreme Court today refusing the plea of Maharashtra Government to ban it.

Last Updated: Jul 09, 2010, 18:43 PM IST

New Delhi: All hurdles on the publication
and circulation of controversial book -- "Shivaji - The Hindu
King in Muslim India", came to an end with the Supreme Court
today refusing the plea of Maharashtra Government to ban it.

The apex court upheld the decision of the Bombay High
Court to lift the ban on the book by American author James
Laine, which, according to the state government, contained
material promoting social enmity.

A bench comprising Justices D K Jain and H L Dattu
agreed with the High Court that the Maharashtra government did
not follow the mandatory procedure while invoking the ban on
the book.

The state government had approached the apex court
after the High Court had in 2007 lifted the ban on the book on
the petition filed by advocate Sanghraj Rupawate, documentary
filmmaker Anand Patwardhan and social activist Kunda Pramila.

The High Court, in its order, had said that the
notification issued by the state government was not
sustainable in the light of the apex court`s order which had
quashed criminal proceedings against Laine over allegations
that the book promoted social enmity.

The state government had issued the ban on January 15,
2004 under section 95 of the Criminal Procedure Code that
empowers a state government to order ban on books if they
contain any material that can lead to breach of peace and
tranquility and cause communal tension.

Publication of such material is punishable under
various sections of the IPC.

The book written by the Laine, a professor of
religious studies, was published in 2003 by the Oxford
University Press in New York and New Delhi.

It was banned by the state government after 150 cadres
of the Sambhaji Brigade ransacked the office of Bhandarkar
Oriental Research Institute (BORI) in Pune and destroyed
property on Januray 5, 2004.

The state government had withdrawn the notification on
January 2004 but issued a similar one on December 28, 2006
which the petitioners in the case had challenged.

-PTI