New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to stay the Delhi High Court’s interim order banning the publication and sale of a book purportedly on the life of yoga guru Ramdev, which he claimed contained defamatory content. A bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra did not grant any interim relief to the publisher Juggernaut Books. Instead, it asked the Delhi High Court to decide on the petition by September-end.
The petition by the publisher challenges a trial court order banning the publication and sale of 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 the 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 Supreme Court bench, which also comprised justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, said. It directed the parties to complete the pleadings by 7 August and disposed of the petition.
Senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, appearing for petitioner Juggernaut Books, said the high court order was “ad-interim in nature” and also that it has fixed the matter for 9 August.
In a relief to Ramdev, the Delhi High Court had on 10 May had issued an interim order restoring the ban on the publication and sale of Godman to Tycoon, a book purportedly on his life, which he claimed contained defamatory content. 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 ASCJ had restrained Juggernaut from publishing and selling Godman to Tycoon 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 has to be stopped immediately. The book authored by journalist Priyanka Pathak Narai was published in July last year.
Ramdev had challenged the civil judge’s 28 April order, in 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.