First Writ Petition
4 November 2008: Writ Petition filed by Mrs. Geetanjali JB accepted by the additional government advocate, High Court of Orissa. The court orders that the petitioner “may make representation” before the Secretary of Home Affairs, the Secretary, Internal Security, and the Secretary, Information and Broadcasting, adding that these agencies “may ensure that there should be no publication of the book ‘The Lives of Sri Aurobindo’ by Peter Heehs without obtaining no objection from them during the pendancy of the representation”.
Note: None of the three central government secretaries named have expressed any interest in the case to date.
5 November: Reports in the press that “the Orissa High Court has directed the publisher of a biography on the life of Sri Aurobindo, penned by Peter Heehs, not to release the book in India without obtaining a no objection certificate from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry and Union Home Ministry.”
Article in Ind Law News
26 November: Filing date of printed version of Writ Petition issued “challenging the inaction of the Govt. of India allowing this book”. The bulk of this petition consists of passages from an email by Sraddhalu Ranade posted on the SAICE yahoo group on 25 September.
13 January 2009: Case heard by the High Court. Heehs is represented by Mr. Prasanta Kishore Ray, a senior advocate. The court denies a prayer by Geetanjali’s lawyers seeking to prevent Peter Heehs from speaking to the press. Geetanjali’s lawyers add the Ministry of Human Resources development to the list of central government agencies “arrayed” in the case.
Note: The Ministry of Human Resources development has not expressed any interest in the case to date.
5 March: Lawyer for Geetanjali JB claims that Government of Orissa intends to “ban” the book.
Article in The Telegraph, Calcutta
Note: The Government of Orissa is not among the agencies asked to provide an opinion on the book and is not in a position to pass any order affecting the distribution of the book outside the borders of Orissa.
18 March: In the wake of Geetanjali JB’s claim that the government supported her petition, the High Court asks her to withdraw it from consideration by the High Court. Geetanjali declines (indicating that the claimed government support did not exist), and the hearing is adjourned.
Article in The Hindu