A plea filed before the Delhi High Court by a devotee of spirirual leader Maa Amritanandmayi has raised the question of whether a court can order a ban on a book.
In a petition filed before the court on Thursday, C Muralidharan filed a writ petition seeking a ban on the book “Holy Hell: A Memoir of Faith, Devotion and Pure Madness”, written by Amritanandamayi’s former aide Gail Tredwell, who had lived with her in the ashram between 1981 and 1999.
In his plea, the petitioner has not only sought a ban on the circulation of the book in India but also asked for directions to the central government to take up the issue of a ban on the circulation of the book online across the globe.
Saying that “crores of devotees” considered the spiritual leader as an “incarnation of god”, the plea alleged that the book was a “deliberate” attempt to “demean Hindu gods, saints and mythology”. The book, which was released amidst controversy earlier this year, has raised allegations of financial mismanagement and abuse at the ashram.
During the hearing before the court of Justice Manmohan on Thursday, Muralidharan’s lawyers argued that the book “outraged the religious feelings” of crores of devotees.
The court, however, questioned whether a court of law could ban any book. “Courts do not ban books. The government does that. You approach them… Show me a judgment by which the apex court has banned any book,” said the court. The case will now be taken up next week.
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