The High Court of Madras has refused to ban the sale of a book on history of the Mangalanathar-Mangaleswari Temple at Uthirakosamangai in Ramanathapuram District.
The sale of the book outside the premises of the temple had been challenged on the ground that the author of the book, P. Thangavelu, had published the books on the history of the temple, without permission from the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department.
The Bench noted that P. Thangavelu, author of the Tamil book Easan Easwari Pirantha Oor Thiru Uthirakosamangai Thiruthala Varalaru, had approached the High Court earlier this year with a Petition to forbear the local police officials from preventing him and his representatives from selling his book outside the temple complex. This had been accepted by the Inspector of Thiru Uthirakosamangai Police Station, who had given an undertaking to a single Judge, assuring the Petitioner that the Police will not cause him any sort of hindrance.
The Temple had now approached the Division Bench of the Court, contending that other legal remedies available to it might get foreclosed on account of the single Judge’s order. Considering this contention, the Bench, comprising Justice T.S. Sivagnanam and Justice P. Velmurugan, noted that the issue relating to ban on sale of books had been dealt with elaborately by the First Division Bench led by former Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul in the case of S. Tamil Selvan v. Perumal Murugan, (2016) 3 MLJ (Crl.) 129.
In the case concerning famous author Perumal Murugan’s Tamil novel Madhorubagan, the Court had observed, “Whether the society is ready to read a particular book and absorb what it says without being offended is a debate which has been raging for years together. Times have changed. What was not acceptable earlier became acceptable later. Lady Chatterley’s Lover is a classical example of it… The choice to read is always with the reader. If you do not like a book, throw it away. There is no compulsion to read a book. Literary tastes may vary and what is right and acceptable to one may not be so to others. Yet, the right to write is unhindered.”
The Bench, thereafter, refused to accept the Temple’s contention, and observed, “The apprehension of the appellant is that the other remedies may be foreclosed on account of the order passed by the writ Court. We do not find any basis for such apprehension as while granting relief to the writ petitioner, the Court only directed the respondent police and that too, recording the undertaking given by the respondent police and hence, the order passed in the writ petition does not call for any interference. However, we make it clear that the appellant/temple, if aggrieved, is entitled to work out their remedies in accordance with law, if they are so advised.”