SC Issues Notice to Guj Govt on Ban on Jaswant’s Book

Hearing expelled BJP leader Jaswant Singh’s plea challenging Gujarat government’s ban on his book on Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the Supreme Court has issued notice on the state government and fixed September 8 as date of next hearing.

A bench comprising Justice Altamas Kabir and Cyriac Joseph asked the state government’s counsel to seek instruction on the issue, posting the matter for further hearing to September 8.

Singh’s counsels, senior advocates Fali S Nariman and Soli Sorabjee, contended that banning a book is the violation of the fundamental rights of its author and publisher.

While banning the book earlier this month, the Gujarat government had said in a statement: “Jaswant Singh”s book questions role of Sardar Patel during the partition of India as well as his patriotic spirit. This is an attempt to tarnish the image of Patel who is considered the architect of modern united India.”

“It is a bid to defame Patel by distorting historical facts,” it charged. “So, the state government has decided to ban the book with immediate effect for wider public interest,” it said.

“As per the ban, there cannot be sale, distribution or publication of the book in the state,” it said.

Singh, two days after the release of the book when it was banned on August 19, later challenged the state government’s notification alleging that the authority banned the book ‘Jinnah – India, Partition, Independence’ arbitrarily and without going through its contents. It amounts to violation of his fundamental rights of speech and expression, Singh said.

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