Ban Books or Banish Books?

The TOI, Mumbai edition reports that

Less than a week after the Supreme Court slammed the state for banning American author James Laine’s book on Shivaji, the Maharashtra government is contemplating a comprehensive legislation to stop “defamation of national, historical or community icons“.

Lawyers, however, say a “general law seeking to ban books” will not stand the constitutional validity test.

The DNA, Mumbai reports that

Giving impetus to freedom of speech and expression, the Supreme Court (SC) has ruled that a book or any written material cannot be banned on the basis of “stray sentences” drawn from the contents.

Nilanjana S Roy, in her article titled ‘The freedom to explore – Imagining Shivaji’ in the Business Standard asks the all important question:

Step away from Laine for a moment: the larger question is, are we free to write, or imagine, an honest, questioning history of some of the most important historical figures in India? At present, the answer to that is, unfortunately, no.