Published: 03rd September 2021
Bombay High Court issued notice to Centre and Maharashtra govt on plea to include sale of books as essential services
Alcohol had been considered even during the last year's lockdown, why had the state and the central authorities have not included the sale of books in the list of essential services, asked the plea
The Bombay High Court on Friday issued notices to the Centre and the Maharashtra government over a writ petition seeking that sale of books be included in the list of essential services in view of the COVID-19 safety-related restrictions imposed in the state.
A single bench of the high court presided over by Justice K K Tated issued the notices, asking the governments to respond to the plea filed by the Marathi Prakashak Parishad, an organisation of Marathi book publishers from Pune.
In its plea filed through advocates Asim Sarode, Ajinkya Udane, the petitioner organisation said that restrictions on the opening of book stores as part of the COVID-19 safety restrictions imposed in the state had adversely affected the book publishing industry.
While the availability of alcohol had been considered even during the last year's lockdown, why had the state and the central government authorities not included the sale of books in the list of essential services, asked the plea.
The petitioner organisation has sought that the Union government includes the sale of books in the list of the essential services notified under the Essential Services Maintenance Act.
It has also sought directions to the Maharashtra government to look at other states, such as Kerala, that permit sale of books even amid the pandemic-related restrictions, and make similar arrangements.
"Books should be declared as an integral part to exercise the right to life with human dignity and freedom of expression," the plea reads. It further said that "the process of reading books reduces stress" and helps one achieve "better mental health". The high court will hear the plea further next month.