The Karnataka High Court on Monday directed the State government to permit the Bangalore Booksellers and Publishers’ Association to hold the Bangalore Book Festival for a period of seven days from May 4 at the Bangalore Palace Grounds.

Justice A.S. Bopanna passed the order while disposing of a petition filed by the association questioning the decision of the government that permission beyond three days could not be granted for the festival.

The court said that the new guidelines — based on which the permission was initially denied for the festival by a single window agency (SWA) while terming the activity as commercial in nature — could not cannot become final unless they are approved by the Supreme Court, where legality of acquisition of the Bangalore Palace and adjoining properties are pending for adjudication.

Not precedent

Making it clear that this order cannot be a precedent for hosting other events at the Palace Grounds, the court also noticed that the Chief Minister had granted three days for conduct of the book festival after the SWA denied permission.

The court also termed the festival as an event connected with the literary world by giving liberty to the government for imposing necessary conditions for controlling traffic and other issues.

The association had alleged that the Government was discriminating in grant of permission to hold commercial events at Palace Grounds while pointing out that a few others were given permission from five days to one year to hold such events.


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