On Wednesday, the Bombay High Court demanded a status report from the Maharashtra government on its decision to cease its initiative of publishing Dr. BR Ambedkar’s writings. A bench of Justices PB Varale and SM Modak took note of a news item concerning the project published in the Marathi daily Loksatta on November 24, 2021, in December 2021. According to the study, there was a high demand for the volumes of Dr. Ambedkar’s books that were being released. The government press, on the other hand, was unable to match the demand due to logistical issues.

The Court then took suo motu notice of the matter and filed the current case.

The Bench stressed during the hearing of the petition that the suo motu case was brought to raise an important issue and was not to be considered as an adversarial proceeding. Advocate Swaraj Jadhav was chosen to prosecute the case by the Bench, and he filed a petition to which the Bench requested a response.

On Wednesday, the court-appointed attorney informed the Bench that Dr. Ambedkar had given several important addresses in several nations, the majority of which had been widely reported in the world media. He begged for guidance on where to find such publications and speeches in the foreign press.

The Bench, on the other hand, believed that the State had formed a committee to collect resources on its own and that no further direction was required. In this context, the Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Source Material Publication Committee was formed, with the Minister of Education as President and 22 other members including government officials, famous scholars, and active Ambedkarite School of Thought members.

According to the petition, the Principal Secretary of the Department of Higher and Technical Education has various published and unpublished papers, but the State has only released 21 volumes to date.

“There was no bar on those published in the world media when the State decided to disseminate Ambedkar’s speeches and writings.” “We don’t believe that a special directive is necessary to integrate material published in overseas media,” the Bench stated.

According to Jadhav’s plea, in order to preserve the distinguished jurist’s work, which would otherwise be in jeopardy, his publications, speeches, and correspondence exchanged with him should be included in the literature that is accessible to the general audience. Government pleader Poornima Kantharia emphasised that the government was not approaching the current procedure as adversarial litigation and that the State was prepared to respond positively to all matters raised in the PIL.

She informed the Court that the Committee’s chairperson had died a few months prior and that no new chairperson had been nominated since then.

The High Court ordered the State to make new appointments as soon as possible and granted it three weeks to respond to the petition.

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