Banned books and other forms of censorship

On the banning of books, censorship and other freedom of access issues

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bombay court upholds ban on Islam book

The Bombay high court of India upheld in a Jan. 6 decision a ban issued in March 2007 by the state of Maharashtra against the book, Islam — A concept of Political World Invasion by R.V. Bhasin. The court said the book was banned not simply for criticizing Islam, but because its critique was not "bona fide or academic" and that it was written with malicious intent, declaring it to be an “aggravated form of criticism made with a malicious and deliberate intention to outrage the feelings of Muslims." It said freedom of expression guaranteed in India's constitution could not be abused to trigger “senseless destruction of lives and property and breach of public order." It declared as objectionable passages of the book about Jihad, the Quran, Mohammed Paigamber, Indian Muslims, and religious conversions. The court's decision said in part:

"NOW, THEREFORE, in exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of section 95 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), in its application to the State of Maharashtra, the Government of Maharashtra hereby declares that every copy of the said Book “ISLAM – A Concept of Political World Invasion by Muslims” as well as the relevant translation thereof as the translated Book – “ISLAM RAJNAITIK VISHWA PAR MUSLIM AKRAMAN KI AVADHARANA” shall be banned and forfeited to the Government."

Bhasin vowed to appeal the case to India's Supreme Court.

Critics of the court's decision say it is not the book which was malicious but the "politically driven furor" against it, as one writer put it.

At least 10,000 copies were printed when the book was published in 2003. Police raided the office in 2007 and confiscated all available copies.

Sources:, Jan. 7 [Mayura Janwalkar], Jan. 9 [Kareena N Gianani]; [Sundeep Dougal], Jan. 9, with link to full text of court judgment.