The Madras High Court on Tuesday granted an injunction till June 7 restraining a publisher from publishing former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa's biography, “ Jayalalithaa – A Portrait.”
Justice V.Ramasubramanian passed the interim order on an application in a civil suit by Ms.Jayalalithaa. He ordered notice to the respondents.
In the application filed through counsel P.H.Manoj Pandian, she said it was customary among journalists to verify the facts with the person concerned and publish the item along with that person's version, and more so when a biography is to be published. However, Penguin Books India Pvt.Ltd and Ravi Singh, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of the company are proposing to publish her biography, which has been authored by Vaasanthi of Bangalore.
An article with purported excerpts from the biography had been published in the March 2011 issue of ‘Outlook', a weekly magazine.
Ms.Jayalalithaa cited some of the contents in the article which said as to how she was known at birth, her father and brother's names to “emphasise their connection to the Mysore Palace,” incidents relating to the acid attack on former IAS officer V.S.Chandralekha and the attack on Shanmugasundaram of DMK, a lawyer, her personal life and references to her close aide Sasikala.
The article gave a pre-publication view of the biography. A reading of the same clearly reflected that it had been written without any verification of facts. Such a publication would spoil her image and damage her status in politics and public life.
The excerpts clearly showed that a major content of the biography to be published is “false and reckless, with total disregard for truth.”
“No one has a right to publish anything concerning personal private matters without consent, whether truthful or otherwise, whether laudatory or critical.” Her consent had not been obtained by the respondents to write and publish details of her private life and hence it was a “clear case of invasion of my privacy.” The respondents “have been indulging in character assassination and the biography certainly is defamatory.”
She said Ms.Vaasanthi had given an interview published in The Hindu-Metro Plus-Weekend, dated April 8 this year, in which she had said that the “book took two years to write.
It had to be finished by May 2011, in time for the elections in Tamil Nadu. They are not calling it a biography, because it's not an authorised biography. I call it a portrait.”
In the interview she had said, “She (Jayalalithaa) may think it is all wrong or partly right, but it is a balanced view of her drawbacks, her strengths, her extraordinary courage, and how she single-handedly fights, still, in a male-dominated society. She is a very colourful woman. Without her, there would be no colour at all in the politics of Tamil Nadu.”