SC refuses to lift ban on book based on yoga guru Ramdev

By Mohammed Rayaan Published on Jul 24, 2018 03:59 PM IST

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court's interim order to ban the publication and sale of a book purportedly on the life of yoga guru Ramdev was refused today by the Supreme Court. Ramdev has claimed that it contained defamatory contents.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra did not grant any interim relief to the publisher Juggernaut Books. But it has asked the Delhi High Court to decide the petition by September-end. The petition by the publisher challenges a trial court order banning the publication and sale of the book titled 'Godman To Tycoon'. The publisher had knocked the doors of the apex court after the High Court, in its interim order, had refused to lift the ban on sale and publication of the book imposed by the trial court.

"This court requests the Delhi High Court to decide the main petition by the end of September," the bench, which also comprised Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said. It also directed the parties to complete the pleadings by August 7 and disposed of the petition. Senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, appearing for the petitioner publisher Juggernaut Books, said that the high court order was "ad-interim in nature" and also it has fixed the matter for August 9.

In a relief to yoga guru Ramdev, the Delhi High Court had on May 10 issued an interim order restoring the ban on publication and sale of a book purportedly on his life. The high court had stayed an order of the additional senior civil judge (ASCJ) which had removed the ban on the publication and sale of the book. The high court had made it clear that it would pass a detailed order in the matter later.

In August last year, the ACJ had restrained the publisher from publishing and selling the book till further orders. It had also restrained Amazon India and Flipkart Internet Pvt Ltd from selling the book online and said any pending delivery of the book to buyers to be stopped immediately.

The book authored by journalist Priyanka Pathak Narai was published in July last year. Ramdev has challenged the civil judge's April-28 order by which the court had lifted the ban on the book by setting aside the injunction order of the trial court in August last year. Ramdev, in his suit, had alleged that the information in the book was false, tended to injure his reputation and led to an inference that the yoga guru had been involved in mischievous and criminal activities to achieve fame and success.

The publisher had earlier said that the book was a work of serious journalism. It was the product of over 50 interviews, many of them taped, with Ramdev and key players in his life, including close aides and family members, it had said. "The book contains a detailed 25-page note on sources that lists the interviews, articles, police reports and RTI replies that are the basis of each chapter," it had said in a statement.