First a prohibition was clamped on the publication of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo. Now, the court of Cuttack (Sadar) sub-divisional judicial magistrate has summoned its author Peter Heehs.
The court issued the summons after a preliminary hearing of a complaint petition filed by Balasore-based Gitanjali Devi, the wife of Jayant Bhattacharya, under Sections 500, 501 and 275(a) of the IPC.
“Our contention is that the author has used defamatory descriptions and has questioned the leader’s character across seven pages. The author, who claims to be a scholar and the founder of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives, has resorted to gross falsities,” the petitioner counsel Milan Kanungo alleged.
While issuing the summons, the court directed the author to appear in person or through his lawyer, on February 20.
The controversy began when Gitanjali Devi filed a writ petition in Orissa High Court seeking a ban on the same book alleging that its author had cast aspersions on Aurobindo’s image. Acting on it, on November 4 the high court restrained Penguin Books India Private Limited from publishing The Lives of Sri Aurobindo and asked it to obtain a no-objection certificate from the Union information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry.
The Columbia University Press, USA, had published the biography and it was slated to be released by Penguin Books here in November.
While directing the I&B ministry to submit a report, the high court asked the ministry to examine the book’s contents and ascertain the veracity of the allegations. Meanwhile on December 15, the high court restricted the book’s publication till January 14 and posted a hearing on the same date. Copyright © 2008 The Telegraph. All rights reserved.