On 22nd September 2020, the Delhi High Court lifted an ex-parte granted and gave the go-ahead to HarperCollins India to publish a book on the Asaram Bapu case while directing a disclaimer to be placed inside the book.
Justice Najmi Waziri set aside the ex-parte injunction passed by the district court by holding that where there is a fair discussion in the public domain which is based on established facts and is ex-parte, not malicious, there can be no bar to such discussion.
While setting aside the ex-parte injunction, Justice Waziri observed that the district court was not made aware of the disclaimer which is present in the book. The court also noted that the book is based on the facts already available in the public domain, and that the original plaintiffs had moved the district court only at the absolute last minute before the date of publication.
The book, alleged to be a true story of the facts surrounding the conviction of self-styled godman Aasaram Bapu, is authored by Ajay Lamba, Additional Commissioner of Police, Jaipur and Sanjiv Mathur. It was scheduled to be released on 5th September 2020.
The publisher HarperCollins India challenged the order through Ashima Obhan, Partner and Akanksha Dua, Senior Associate of Obhan & Associates, and were represented in court by Senior Counsel Mr Kapil Sibal and Advocate Swathi Sukumar.
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