New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Delhi High Court to decide by September-end an appeal filed by Yoga guru Ramdev for retaining a ban on publication and sale of a book on him, titled 'Godman to Tycoon: The Untold Story of Baba Ramdev'.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra set the deadline for the HC to hear the case, which involved the issue of freedom of speech and expression on one hand, and defamation and privacy on the other.
Senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, representing the publisher, M/s Juggernaut Books, had pointed out that the matter is listed next in HC and will be heard on August 8.
"We will be satisfied if the High Court is directed to decide the matter expeditiously without getting influenced by the interim order of the ban. No injunction can work in perpetuity. Let the High Court decide this matter on merits," said Subramanium.
Senior lawyer Vikas Singh, appearing for Ramdev, agreed to issuance of a direction of this nature.
The bench then wrapped up the plea, directing the Delhi High Court to decide on the issue by September-end.
The book, authored by Priyanka Pathak Narain, was published in July 2017 but on a complaint by Ramdev, a Delhi civil court prohibited the publication and sale on August 4, 2017.
It had also restrained M/s Amazon India and M/s Flipkart Internet Pvt Ltd from selling the book online and said any pending delivery of the book be stopped immediately.
Ramdev has claimed that the book is “extremely defamatory”, and “infringed his right to privacy”.
However, in April this year, the Delhi court revoked the ban on the book.
This prompted Ramdev to move the Delhi High Court in appeal where his counsel argued that the publisher and the author cannot be allowed to circulate defamatory and personal material about him.
In May the Delhi High Court reinstated the ban on the publication of the book and Juggernaut had appealed against order.
On his part, the publisher submitted that the extracts of the book were already in public domain since 2007 and Ramdev never raised any objection. It said the entire record of the trial court has not been placed before the High Court.
Issuing an interim order, the High Court stayed the civil court order, thereby restoring the ban on publication and sale of the book.