The Supreme Court has shot down a plea to ban a book written by social activist and author Kancha Ilaiah and warned that “curtailment of an individual writer/author’s right to freedom of speech and expression should never be lightly viewed”.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud dismissed the petition filed by a laywer K L N V Veeranjaneyulu seeking ban on the book Samajika Smugglurlu Komatollu (Vysyas are smugglers). “We do not intend to state the facts in detail. Suffice it to say that when an author writes a book, it is his or her right of expression. We do not think that it would be appropriate under Article 32 of the Constitution of India that this Court should ban the book/books.
“Keeping in view the sanctity of the said right and also bearing in mind that the same has been put on the highest pedestal by this court, we decline the ambitious prayer made by the petitioner,” the bench said.
The petitioner, who is also a member of Arya Vysya Officials Professionals Association, alleged that the writer had made “baseless” allegations against certain castes in his book and tried to divide the society on caste lines. The petition claimed that “the book hurt the feelings of the Arya Vysya Community” and “was written without evidence and historical facts.”
Veeranjaneyulu pointed out that the a criminal case had also been registered against him in Andhra Pradesh for hurting sentiments of people belonging to certain casters and urged the curt to ban the work.
The Telugu Desam Party had come out against the author and demanded action against him. The state BJP too condemned teh book but said it was not in favour of a ban and also rejected calls for violence against the author.