SC asks Centre to respond on plea on hard copies of Central Acts

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre to respond to an appeal that there is “blatant laxity” by the government in not publishing and ensuring the availability of authentic, accurate and reasonably priced hard copies of Central Acts, Rules, notifications, regulations, etc, and the various amendments made, for the public benefit.

“The fundamental right of citizens to know cannot be infringed with impunity,” the petition filed by advocate Arpit Bhargava, represented by advocate Prashant Bhushan, said.

The petition has pointed out that publication rights over various statutes and their latest amendments are limited to the hands of some private businessmen. They have created a monopoly and price the books according to their whims and fancies.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde agreed to hear the appeal filed against the November 2019 order of the Delhi High Court which said action would be taken by the government against “erring publishers” in accordance with law, rules, regulations and policies as and when there is any violation of the Copyright Act, 1957 and other provisions of the Constitution.

The apex court asked the Centre to file its response to the appeal, which said the High Court “failed to consider that the loss to public at large is not only due to high prices charged but due to inaccurate and non-authentic reproduction of Acts, rules, notifications, regulations, etc.”

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