CUTTACK: The Orissa High Court on Wednesday stayed the trial of a case pending in a lower court here against controversial US writer Peter Heehs who shot into limelight recently for his book on Sri Aurobindo.

The book titled “The Lives of Sri Aurobindo” published by Columbia University Press, US, has disparaging comments about the life of the spiritual leader. Although, the book has not been published in India, there were plans to publish the contentious book in India by Penguin India Publishers sometimes in November 2008.

The SDJM court here after taking cognizance of a petition filed against the US writer and his book, had directed for the personal appearance of the writer. The lower court had even rejected a plea of the writer who had sought to appear in the court through his counsel.

Alleging that the cognizance of the case by the SDJM court suffers from fundamental legal defects, the writer had moved the High Court seeking to quash the proceedings of the trial in the lower court. “The allegations made in the complaint filed in the lower court do not make out any case and the essential ingredients of the offenses have not been established,” Peter Heehs told the High Court.

It may be mentioned here that the SDJM court in its order in September this year had fixed November 17, 2009 for the personal appearance of Peter Heehs disallowing him to be represented by a lawyer.

Terming the order of the lower court as not tenable in the eyes of laws, Peter Heehs advocate Bibhu Tripathy had urged the High Court to quash the SDJM order and stay the trail of the case in the lower court.

Allowing the prayer of the writer, the single judge bench of Justice A.S. Naidu on Wednesday stayed the trial of the case in the lower court while quashing the impugned order of the court passed in September this year.

It may be recalled here that in a similar complaint, a lower court in Barbil of Keonjhar district had also issued NBW against the US writer but the Orissa High Court had intervened by recalling the NBW issued against the writer.