The Delhi High Court on Thursday dismissed the petition seeking a ban on the publication, circulation, sale and purchase of Congress leader Salman Khurshid’s book Sunrise Over Ayodhya: Nationhood in Our Times.
Justice Yashwant Varma said: “If people are feeling so sensitive then what can we do? No one has asked them to read it. You could close your eyes and not read it.”
Delhi-based lawyer Vineet Jindal had moved the Delhi High Court against Salman Khurshid’s book. Advocate Raj Kishore Chaudhary, appearing for the petitioner, said there have been incidents of violence because of the book, even, the author’s home in Nainital has been damaged and the book will create further communal tension across the country.
Chaudhary said freedom of speech promised under Article 19 of the Constitution has reasonable restrictions as well in the interests of preventing the breach of peace and said such right is not a given absolute.
The Court sought to know whether any untoward communal incident happened in the country because of the references made in the book. The bench said that the restrictions have to be put by the government and in this case, the government has not done anything. Justice Varma reiterated that the court can’t do anything if people were feeling hurt by the book’s contents.
Since Chaudhary didn’t have any other contention, the judge dismissed the petition. In his petition, Jindal had alleged that sentiments of crores of Hindus were hurt as the book likened Hindutva to terrorist organisations like the ISIS and the African Islamist outfit Boko Haram.
The paragraph which was also reproduced in the petition reads:
“Sanatan dharma and classical Hinduism known to sages and saints was being pushed aside by a robust version of Hindutva, by all standards a political version similar to jihadist Islam of groups likes ISIS and Boko Haram of recent years.”