The vacation judge of Orissa High Court, Justice R N Biswal, today stayed execution of non-bailable warrant (NBW) issued against the controversial US writer Peter Heehs and author of book titled ‘The Lives of Sri Aurobindo’ The vacation judge also stayed further proceedings in the matter pending before the Judicial Magistrate (First Class) court of Barbil in Keonjhar district till disposal of a criminal miscellaneous jurisdiction petition now pending before the High Court.
One Ramesh Chandra Mallick, a Barbil-based teacher of Sri Aurobindo Institute of Integral Education, had filed a criminal case in local JMFC court stating that he had received a copy of the book in February this year. Mr Mallick alleged that the book had levelled baseless allegations and imaginary descriptions as well as defamatory remarks on spiritual leader Sri Aurobindo, describing him as ‘coward’ and ‘liar’. The petitioner contended that he was deeply hurt by reading the descriptions on Sri Aurobindo.
The JMFC of Barbil on May 8 last rejected the US writer’s prayer for dispensing his personal appearance during trial as guaranteed under Section 205 of CrPC and issued an NBW against him, directing the writer for his personal appearance in the court on July eight. The court even directed that Peter Heehs could not be represented by a lawyer. Taking cognizance of a criminal miscellaneous jurisdiction petition filed by Peter Heehs, the vacation judge of the High Court today issued notices to the state government and Mr Ramesh Chandra Mallick to file counters to the petitions filed by the US writer and adjourned the case to be heard after four weeks.
The US writer’s counsels had moved the High Court seeking to quash the lower court’s order and recall the NBW issued against the writer. Although the book has not been published in India, there was a plan to publish the contentious book in India by Penguin India Publishers. At least three cases were filed against the writer, one in Orissa High Court seeking ban on publishing the controversial book in India and two criminal cases each in the lower courts of Cuttack and Barbil. UNI