Justice for Perumal Murugan, Madras High Court Steps In

Published on: July 5, 2016

The Madras High Court on Tuesday ruled in favour of Perumal Murugan, author of the novel 'Madhorubhagan', granting him relief from all the controversies that shrouded the work of fiction that compelled him to announce that he would withdraw his entire body of work from publication and never write again.

At the end of a year-long legal battle, First Bench of Chief Justice S. K. Kaul and Justice Puspha Sathyanarayana held that the settlement arrived in the peace-keeping meet held by the district administration would not be binding on the author. The bench also dismissed the plea moved by the residents to initiate criminal proceedings against him and consequently quashed an FIR filed against Mr. Murugan. The settlement arrived in the peace-keeping meet held by the Namakkal district administration would not be binding on the author, rules court.

The court further directed the State government to circulate a series of guidelines framed by the court to handle such situations among the State police and to form an expert committee to handle such issues.

The Tamil Nadu Progressive Writers and Artists Association president, S.Tamilselvan, had challenged the decision of a peace committee meeting held at Namakkal on January 12 organised by the district administration and expressed solidarity with the writer. The decision was that Mr. Murugan had agreed to issue an unconditional apology, delete the controversial portions from his book, and withdraw unsold copies from the market. Meanwhile, a group of people claiming to be residents of Tiruchengode approached the High Court to initiate criminal charges against the author.

On February 13, 2016, Sabrangindia had featured this video interview with Peerumal Murugan’s publisher completely standing by him and his work

I stand by Perumal Murugam: Kannan Sundaram, publisher

“I have always stood with all my writers”, says Kannan Sundaram, publisher, Kalachuvadu. Kalachuvadu was first begun as a magazine by his father, the Tamil writer, Sundara Ramaswamy. Kannan Sundaram wasthen  in Delhi to receive the Samanvay Bhasha Samman 2015 on behalf of Perumal Murugan when he spoke to Souradeep Roy.

The controversy over Madhurobhagan (One Part Woman), Murugan's book, is not the first Kalachuvadu has faced. There was significant opposition to Kalachuvadu’s publishing Tamil feminist literature in the 1990s.

At a time when publishers are increasingly reluctant to stand by their own writers, Sundaram maintains that he supports complete freedom of expression for all his writers.