The Supreme Court on Tuesday suggested to American author James W Laine to consider deleting four of the eight disputed paragraphs of his book on Maratha warrior Shivaji that has been banned by the Maharashtra government.
A bench headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat said that in its opinion, four of the eight paragraphs could be deleted. Issuing a fresh notice to Laine on the state government’s petition challenging a Bombay High Court order lifting the ban, the bench said its opinion be considered by the author.
The court clarified that the suggestion was aimed at amicably settling the dispute, and it also wanted to deal with vandalism of public property. The court, however, said that the author's acceptance of the suggestion or his not paying any heed to it would not affect the merits of the case.
Publication of Laine’s book, Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India, had led to protests in Pune by the Shambhaji Brigade. On January 5, 2004, a mob had ransacked the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute.
The book by Laine, a professor of religious studies at Macalester College in the US, was published in 2003. The state government had banned it in 2004.