The Maharashtra government’s faulty notification led to the lifting of the ban on American author James W. Laine’s book on Shivaji.
A bench headed by Justice D.K Jain, which dismissed the state’s petition against a Bombay High Court verdict lifting the ban on the book Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India, said the notification was “too vague” to withstand legal scrutiny.
This comes as the Opposition attacks the Congress-NCP government for its debacle in the Supreme Court.
“The conditions statutorily mandated for exercise of power under Section 95 of the Code (for banning a book) are lacking and therefore, the action of the government cannot be sustained,” the apex court said.
The state had in 2006 issued the ban notification under Section 95 of the Criminal Procedure Code on the ground that the circulation of the book containing scurrilous and derogatory references to Shivaji Maharaj had resulted in causing enmity between various communities and led to acts of violence and disharmony.
However, the Supreme Court found, “It is manifest that the notification does not identify the communities between which the book had caused or is likely to cause enmity. Therefore, it cannot be found out from the notification as to which communities got outraged by the publication of the book or it had caused hatred and animosity between particular communities or groups.”
The bench said it was mandatory for the government to state the grounds on which it had formed its opinion to ban the book and in the absence of this, the ban would become vitiated.