A Delhi court has restrained a publisher and two e-commerce firms from publishing and selling a book purportedly on the life of yoga guru Ramdev, who alleged that its contents were defamatory. The court passed the order without giving notice to the publisher, saying that any delay in granting the interim order would defeat the purpose for which the lawsuit has been filed.
Additional Civil Judge Nipun Awasthi restrained Juggernaut Books from publishing and selling the book titled 'Godman To Tycoon', allegedly based on the life of the yoga guru, till further orders.
The judge said after going through parts of the book, it was found to be based on "rumours as heard and hearsay testimonials" and "permission to publish such a book has manifestly not been sought from him (Ramdev) nor answers to the so called 'mysteries' referred to in the book have been sought from him".
In a statement issued today, the publisher said they received an intimation and copy of the order, which was passed on August 4, on August 10 and have complied with it immediately.
"Every person is entitled to approach a court of law with a grievance that must be decided in a fair manner. In this case, the allegation of defamation must certainly be heard in the courts and we welcome the chance to defend our book. Godman to Tycoon is a work of serious journalism. It is the product of over fifty interviews, many of them taped, with key players in Baba Ramdev's life, including with Ramdev himself and close aides and family members.”
"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 said in the statement.
The court 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. It asked the publisher to direct vendors not to sell the book till its further orders.
The court said that the book, which was published in July and authored by journalist Priyanka Pathak Narain, would prima facie create an impression on the minds of readers that Ramdev was a "criminal who can go to any extent to achieve success, fame and money".
"Evidence has also been produced to show how the book has been advertised for sale. It has been advertised that the book in question contains such content that it would not be acceptable to the supporters of the plaintiff (Ramdev) and there is a fear that this book would be caused to be out of shelf because the author has disclosed, hitherto unknown facts about Baba Ramdev...," the court said in its nine-page order.
The suit, filed on behalf of Ramdev through Dr Jaideep Arya, alleged that the information in the book is false, tends to injure his reputation and leads to an inference that the yoga guru had been involved in mischievous and criminal activities to achieve fame and success.
The court said, "The subject of the book i.e. plaintiff (Ramdev), is alive and permission to publish such a book has manifestly not been sought from him nor answers to the so called 'mysteries' referred to in the book have been sought from him. It is also not referred in the book that whether Ramdev has been put to trial by any authority for his portrayed criminality."