The Gujarat High Court on Friday struck down the August 19 notification of the State government banning the publication, sale and distribution of expelled BJP leader Jaswant Singh’s book on Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
Sources in the government said the Home Department was working out details for issuing another notification to continue the ban. The government was taking cautious steps in issuing a new notification in view of the court’s critical remarks that there was “non-application of mind” on the part of the government while issuing the first notification, the sources added.
A three-judge Bench, headed by Chief Justice K. S. Radhalkrishnan, said that going by the notification’s language, it was clear the “author” who drafted it “had not read the book, not understood the contents and not applied his mind” while imposing the ban order. “Any notification issued by the government without its applying its mind is illegal and unlawful.” The order said the notification did not give the grounds for the ban, and, therefore, did not make out how the book could promote disharmony between various communities or adversely affect the national integrity as claimed by the government. The notification neither satisfied the requirements of Section 95 of the Criminal Procedure Code under which it was issued nor attracted the provisions of Sections 153 (A) and (B), as quoted in it.
“The government should be doubly cautious while exercising its extraordinary powers to issue notifications under Section 95 of the Cr. P.C., as it curtailed the fundamental rights of citizens.”