Thursday, November 06, 2008

The court asked to inquire into allegations that the book makes defamatory remarks about Sri Aurobindo

Set for release, Aurobindo biography runs into legal trouble
The Hindustan Times November 6th 2008
Soumyajit Patnaik Bhubaneswar - November 5th

The scheduled publication of Sri Aurobindo's biography by Penguin India this month has run into trouble with the Orissa High Court on Tuesday asking the publisher to obtain a no-objection certificate from the Union Information and Broadcasting (I and B) Ministry and Home Ministry.

The Lives of Shri Aurobindo is penned by American writer Peter Heehs and has already been published by the Columbia University Press in May 2008. In India, it is scheduled for release this month.

The court, acting on a petition, asked the I and B Ministry to inquire into allegations that the book makes defamatory remarks about Sri Aurobindo, one of India's revered philosophers and freedom fighters, who died in 1950.

Gitanjali Devi, in her plea, has mentioned that the book is blasphemous and makes several defamatory remarks on the life and character of the philosopher. Her counsel Milan Kanungo told HT:

"The court has directed the I and B Ministry to make a thorough inquiry into the contents of the book and ascertain whether it contains any defamatory comments about Sri Aurobindo. The report would be submitted to the court by December 15, which has been fixed as the next date of hearing."

Heehs - one of the founders of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives - did not respond to an e-mail query from HT. . 1:03 PM 9:24 AM 8:57 AM 7:18 AM

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