HC stays publication and sale of book on Ramdev's life

Yoga guru Baba Ramdev. PTI File Photo

In a relief to yoga guru Ramdev, the Delhi High Court on Thursday issued an interim order restoring the ban on publication and sale of a book purportedly on his life, which he claimed contained defamatory content.

The court stayed an order of the additional senior civil judge (ASCJ) which had removed the ban on the publication and sale of the book.

"I am going to restore the order of the trial judge. You (author and publisher of the book) file your reply," Justice R K Gauba orally said referring to the initial order passed by the additional civil judge (ACJ) banning the book.

The high court made it clear that it would pass a detailed order in the matter later.

The court granted the interim relief to Ramdev while hearing his plea challenging the order of the ASCJ which had lifted the ban on publication and selling of book titled 'Godman To Tycoon', allegedly based on the life of the yoga guru.

During the hearing today, the counsel appearing for Ramdev said that the appellate decision to look at the case afresh and did not bother to look at the reasoning of the ACJ while restraining the publication and sale of the book.

Senior advocate Dayan Krishnan, representing Ramdev, said the ASCJ vacated the ban on the ground that the book was already available in the market on account of publication and sale, but "how can this be a ground to deny injunction".

"My prayer is to stop the circulation of the book. The assumption of the appellate judge was contrary to the law," he argued.

He claimed that the allegations in the book relating to Ramdev's life were incorrect.

In August last year, the ACJ had restrained publisher Juggernaut Books from publishing and selling the book titled 'Godman To Tycoon' till further orders.

It had also restrained Amazon India and Flipkart Internet Pvt Ltd from selling the book online and said any pending delivery of the book to buyers be stopped immediately.

The book was published in July last year and authored by journalist Priyanka Pathak Narain.

Advocate Siddharth Aggarwal, appearing for the author of the book in the high court, said that at the end of the book, there are extracts of the facts including the details of persons whom she had interviewed before writing the book.

The counsel said the persons who were interviewed include Ramdev and what all he had said were there in different chapters of the book.

Advocates Raj Shekhar Rao and Satyajit Sarna, who represented the publisher, said the extracts of the material in the book were already in public domain since 2007 and Ramdev never raised any objection. The counsel said the entire record of the trial court has not been placed before the high court.

Ramdev has challenged a civil judge's April 28 order by which the court had lifted the ban on the book by setting aside the injunction order of the trial court in August last year.

Ramdev, in his suit, had alleged that the information in the book was false, tended to injure his reputation and led to an inference that the yoga guru had been involved in mischievous and criminal activities to achieve fame and success.

The publisher had earlier said that the book was a work of serious journalism. It was the product of over fifty interviews, many of them taped, with Ramdev and key players in his life, including close aides and family members, it had said.

"The book contains a detailed 25-page note on sources that lists the interviews, articles, police reports and RTI replies that are the basis of each chapter," it had said in a statement.

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HC stays publication and sale of book on Ramdev's life

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