The expelled BJP leader Jaswant Singh on Friday moved the Supreme Court challenging the Gujarat order banning his book ‘Jinnah: India-Partition, Independence.’
In his writ petition, Mr. Singh, along with the publisher, Rupa and Co., said the right to freedom of speech and expression as guaranteed under Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution was taken away by the ban order which was passed hastily and arbitrarily.
The Gujarat notification, which was issued on August 19 within two days of the release of the book, “Ex-facie and per se infringes the fundamental right of the petitioner and is not justified under Section 95 of the Cr.PC., especially since it does not set out the matter which is allegedly punishable under Sections 153 A and 153 B of the IPC nor the grounds of the State government’s notification.”
The petition said the ban was clamped without the government caring to go through the contents of the book. The notification “does not refer to any passage or excerpt which, according to the government, is objectionable or misleading to the public or against the interest of the state and/or against tranquillity of the public.”
It said the book pertaining to the partition era included appendices which reflected in-depth research on the subject as well as supported the commentary and thesis on the role of Mohammad Ali Jinnah in the Partition of India.
It took five years for the first petitioner to complete the book. It was intended to be circulated throughout the country and any impediment to its distribution and circulation in one State would constitute an infringement of his fundamental right.
The petition sought a direction to quash the notification and a direction to prohibit the Gujarat government from seizing or forfeiting the book or copies thereof.