Author has ‘right to voice ideas freely’ – SC

The Supreme Court has refused to ban the controversial book — Samajika Smugglurlu Komatollu (Vysyas are social smugglers) — penned by Dalit writer and intellectual Kancha Ilaiah, saying every author has a fundamental right to voice ideas freely.A Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud junked a public interest litigation by a lawyer seeking directions to the government to ban the book.

The apex court said 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 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 Supreme Court 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 the writer had made “baseless” allegations against certain castes in his book and tried to divide the society on caste lines.He said a criminal case had also been registered against him in Andhra Pradesh for hurting sentiments of people belonging to certain castes and urged the court to ban the book. — PTI


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