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"If you do not like a book, simply close it. The answer is not its ban." - Madras High Court Judgment [PDF 676 KB]

Ruling in favour of a Tamil author, Perumal Murugan, the Madras High Court, on July 5, 2016, dismissed petitions which included seeking the forfeiture of all copies of a Tamil book, titled Madhorubagan, and its English translation, One Part Woman. The novel, set in Tiruchengode, a town in Tamil Nadu, describes the agonies of a childless couple.

As the Judgment sums it up, "In essence, the novel seeks to relate the travails and tribulations of a childless couple and the barbs of the society against it, while the couple seeks to battle it out against social and familial pressures. Somewhere, the family pressures gain an upper hand and what transpires to assist procreation is the troubling area of the story."

Petitioners had alleged, among other charges, that the novel was "blasphemous, outrageous, defamatory, offensive and morally unacceptable." The original Tamil novel was written in 2010 and released in January 2011, at the Chennai Book Fair. The English translation was released in 2013. Both versions won critical acclaim.

However, Perumal Murugan's troubles started later, in December 2014, when "voices were raised against him that he had defamed Tiruchengode town and the womenfolk and the community." The controversy pushed the author to living in virtual exile, issuing an unconditional apology, and subsequently, posting his own obituary as a writer on his Facebook page.

A Bench of the Madras High Court, comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana, observed: "If you do not like a book, simply close it. The answer is not its ban."

The full text of the judgment can be accessed through the following link:





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