Pearl Narang

Pearl Narang is a final year law student of B.B.A.LL.B (Hons.) at Chandigarh University, Mohali and is currently interning as a Trainee in Business World Legal Community. She is also pursuing a diploma in Contract Drafting, Negotiation and Dispute Resolution. She is passionate about both law and writing.

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Delhi HC Sets Aside Stay on Publication of Gunning for the Godman

Single Judge Bench of Justice Najmi Waziri set aside the ex-parte interim injunction order restraining the publication of a book on Asaram Bapu titled ‘Gunning for the Godman: The True Story Behind Asaram Bapu’s Conviction’ (HarperCollins v. Sanchita).

A suit was filed by co-convict in the Asaram Bapu rape case, Sanchita in a Delhi District Court. The Court had passed an ex-parte injunction and restrained the publication of a book on Asaram Bapu titled ‘Gunning for the Godman: The True Story Behind Asaram Bapu’s Conviction’. HarperCollins appealed against the order in the Delhi High Court. Earlier, the Court reserved judgment in the matter.

There was no occasion of pre-publication censorship 

HarperCollins argued that there was no occasion for the pre-publication censorship in the present case and the same ought to be done very cautiously. HarperCollins informed the Court that the alleged defamatory content was based entirely on the trial record and judgment.

The co-accused Sanchita's mala fide intent was highlighted by stating she waited until the eve of the publication to seek a stay when the public announcement with respect to the book launch was done in July.

Right under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution should be balanced right to reputation and fair trial

Sanchita argued that her right under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution includes her right to reputation and fair trial. She also added that appeal against the conviction was still pending. In such a case, allowing the publication of the controversial book would cause irreparable injury.

Already printed copies of the book should be accompanied by a flyer

After hearing both the parties, the Court directed that a flyer should accompany the already printed copies of the book. The flyer should state that the book is based on the judgment of a trial court, which is under appeal. This disclaimer should be given electronically for online sale. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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