Anoushka Mehta

Anoushka Mehta is currently a penultimate year law student (B.A., LL.B) (Hons.) at Maharashtra National Law University Mumbai. She is a reviewer at Economic & Political Weekly and is also pursuing a Diploma in Advanced Contract Drafting, Negotiation and Dispute Resolution. She aims to write on legal issues alongside working in the area of corporate law.

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Harper Collins Moves Delhi HC Against Stay on Release of Asaram Bapu’s Rape Conviction Book

The publishing house has challenged a District Court order restraining the release of book titled “Gunning for the Godman: The True Story Behind Asaram Baku’s Conviction”

Recently, HarperCollins Publishers India Pvt. Ltd. moved the Delhi High Court against a District Court order (Patiala House) which restrained the publication of a book titled “Gunning for the Godman: The True Story Behind Asaram Bapu’s Conviction” on Asaram Bapu’s Rape case. The publishers have submitted the trial Court passed an order of restriction without considering the book as a whole, or the context in which the disputed passages have been quoted by the complainant. Moreover, the company represented by Obhan & Associates, contended that while passing the impugned order, the Trial Court fell into "serious error" by not considering the settled principles of law against pre-publication censorship which is unconstitutional as it is against the right to freedom of expression guaranteed under Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution of India. 

The case to restrain the publication of the book was filed by Sanchita Gupta, an associate of Asaram. Gupta was a co-accused and was convicted by a court in Jodhpur under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act in 2018 as an aid of Asaram Bapu in a case related to the rape of a minor girl. Staying the release of the book till September 30th, the District Court of Patiala House the Court said: “Sanchita Gupta’s reputation is at stake and her reputation would suffer irreparable harm if the ex parte injunction is not granted particularly when the book is going to be published on September 5”.

Allegations on Asaram and the Book

The book, which was scheduled to be released last Saturday, is alleged to be a true story of the facts surrounding the conviction of self-styled godman Asaram Bapu. It is authored by Ajay Lamba, Additional Commissioner of Police, Jaipur, and Sanjiv Mathur. The book is contentious as it delves into the case history of Asumal Sirumalani Harpalani’s (popularly is known as Asaram Bapu) conviction. In August 2013, Asaram was accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl in his Jodhpur. ashram. The minor girl’s parents filed a complaint against him and he was arrested on 1st September 2013. He was put under various non-bailable sections of IPC and was given life imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 50,000 to the victim. 

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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