Court restrains from publishing book titled ‘Gunning for the Godman’

The Patiala House Court of Delhi on Friday directed the defendants to restrain from publishing the book titled “Gunning for the Godman: The True Story behind the Asaram Bapu Conviction” till the next date of hearing. Additional District Judge RS Meena on Friday granted interim relief to Sanchita Gupta and restrain the publication of a book.

Sanchita is a co-accused in a case related to self-styled Godman Asaram Bapu and had approached the Court seeking urgent relief against the publication of the book as the pre-released chapter published on a web portal was defamatory of her and was likely to prejudice her appeal pending before the High Court of Rajasthan. She had approached the Court in a civil suit.

Arguing for Sanchita, Advocate Aggarwal informed the Court that the book was being published by Harper Collins and scheduled to release on September 5, 2020, both physically and online.

The book authored by Ajay Lamba, Additional Commissioner of Police, Jaipur and Sanjiv Mathur claims to be a true story, however, is at variance with the trial record and most importantly interfered with Sanchita’s appeal which was sub-judice and where the High Court of Rajasthan had already suspended her sentence.

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Aggarwal also argued that it was completely possible that the High Court of Rajasthan could order a re-examination of witnesses or even a retrial and in such a circumstance the publication of the book in its present form could not be allowed. Aggarwal also contended that publication of the book claiming to be the true story would prejudice Sanchita and run counter to her rights under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

Aggarwal cited numerous precedents where courts had restrained publication of books and movies to protect the rights of an accused person including those whose appeals were pending before courts. After hearing substantial arguments, the court directed the defendants to restrain the publication of the book till the next date of hearing which is September 30, 2020.

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