The Supreme Court has dismissed a petition seeking a ban on publication and circulation of the Malayalam novel ‘Meesha’ by S Hareesh.
“Subjective perceptions about a book should not be allowed to enter legal arena when it comes to censorship,” the Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud observed.
The novel was being serialised in a Malayalam literary weekly when after three parts, there was opposition to it from certain Hindu outfits and the author announced stopping going ahead with the novel. The weekly announced that it was forced to stop publication of further parts as the author demanded.
Harish had then claimed that he and his family were under threat and he would get back to writing only after society changed and became capable of accepting fresh thoughts. However, in hardly a fortnight the novel in full was brought out by a leading book publisher in Kerala.
In between, the petitioner, one N Radhakrishnan, moved the Supreme Court objecting to a dialogue between two characters in the novel, which he claimed ‘insulted’ Hindu women. He had sought seizure of all copies of the weekly of July 11, 2018, in which the ‘controversial’ part was published.
During a hearing in early August, the Bench observed that in modern times of information explosion, such things should not be given undue importance. Chief Justice Mishra had then said the culture of ban should not be prompted as it would affect ‘free flow’ of thoughts and ideas.
The court while reserving judgment had asked the publisher to furnish translation of the copies of the novel with its contentious parts Harish, while welcoming the judgment, said he was happy and that the court had allowed free flow of thoughts and ideas.