Delhi High Court on Tuesday set aside the district court’s stay on the release of the book based on the Asaram’s conviction and arrest in a rape case. Religious leader Asaram is currently serving a life sentence in a jail in Jodhpur in Rajasthan.
Harper Collins Publishers Limited had moved the Delhi High Court against the interim injunction stating that the book is based on trial records and the judgment which are public documents.
An ex-parte interim injunction was passed by a civil court on September 4 restraining the release of the book.
Justice Najmi Waziri observed that the book named “Gunning for the Godman: The True Story Behind Asaram Bapu’s Conviction” is based on the facts available in the public domain. The court also noted that discussions based on solid facts are protected under the freedom of speech and expression.
“In a civilised society, which is governed by rule of law, discussions should be governed by facts.The moment such discussions go into speculations and unproven facts, the right to injunction arises,” noted the court.
Sanchita Gupta, another accused in the case had approached a civil court seeking a stay on the release of the book and also sought a restraining order against the selling of the book on the ground that the matter is sub-judice before the High Court in Rajasthan. Sanchita Gupta was a warden in the hostel
IPS officer Ajay Pal Lamba along with Sanjeev Mathur has authored the book. The court was told that almost 5,000 copies of the book have already been published and it was on the verge of release when the ex parte order was passed.
Asaram was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in a POCSO case in 2018.