The Supreme Court has refused to ban the book — Samajika Smugglurlu Komatollu – written by prominent Dalit writer and intellectual Kancha Ilaiah. Quashing the PIL seeking to ban the book, which has courted controversy in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the apex court said every author has a fundamental right to voice ideas freely.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud said that any request to ban a book has to be strictly scrutinised because “every author or writer has a fundamental right to speak out ideas freely and express thoughts adequately”, and that curtailment of an individual writer or author’s right to freedom of speech and expression should never be viewed lightly.
“We do not intend to state the facts in detail. Suffice it to say that when an author writes a book, it is his or her right of expression. We do not think that it would be appropriate under Article 32 of the Constitution of India that this Court should ban the book/books.
“Keeping in view the sanctity of the said right and also bearing in mind that the same has been put on the highest pedestal by this court, we decline the ambitious prayer made by the petitioner,” the bench said.
The order came on a plea filed by lawyer KV Veeranjaneyulu, who is also a member of Arya Vysya Officials Professionals Association, alleging that the writer had made “baseless” allegations against certain castes in his book and tried to divide the society on caste lines.
Protests were held by Arya Vysya community against the book in Telangana. An FIR had also been registered against Ilaiah in Andhra Pradesh for hurting sentiments of people belonging to certain castes.
Ilaiah too had filed a police complaint alleging attack against him.
(With inputs from PTI)