Row over book on Aurobindo

CUTTACK: A vacation judge of Orissa High Court on Wednesday stayed the execution of non-bailable warrant (NBW) issued against controversial US writer Peter Heehs who was into limelight last year 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 was a plan to publish the contentious book in India by Penguin India Publishers sometimes in November last year. At least three cases were filed against the writer, one in Orissa High Court seeking ban on publishing the controversial book in India and two criminal cases each in the lower courts of Cuttack and Barbil.

Taking cognizance of a criminal miscellaneous jurisdiction petition filed by Peter Heehs, the HC on Wednesday issued notices to the State government and to one Ramesh Chandra Mallick of Barbil to file counters to the petitions filed by the US writer. Indicating that the petition is likely to be disposed of at admission stage, the HC adjourned the case to be heard next after four weeks.

Stay on proceedings

The vacation court of Justice R.N. Biswal also stayed further proceedings in the matter pending before the Judicial Magistrate (First Class) court of Barbil in Keonjhar district till disposal of a criminal miscellaneous jurisdiction petition now pending before the High Court.

It may be recalled here that Ramesh Chandra Mallick, a Barbil-based teacher of Sri Aurobindo Institute of Integral Education had filed a criminal case in local JMFC court indicating that he had received a copy of the book in February this year.