The Bangalore Booksellers’ and Publishers’ Association (BBPA), organiser of the annual Bangalore Book Fair, has decided to legally challenge the State government’s order prohibiting “commercial activities” at Bangalore Palace Grounds. The Association was denied permission to organise the event for more than three days.
The 11th edition of the book fair was scheduled to be held from November 29 to December 8 at Tripura Vasini on Palace Grounds. The fair stands cancelled as the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms (DPAR), citing its December 2012 order, refused to permit any “commercial activities like trade fairs, consumer exhibitions, etc”.
‘Permission Given at Short Notice’
However, the BBPA was given special permission for the fair in accordance with the same DPAR order that states “only short-term programmes not exceeding three days will be permitted depending upon the merits of the case”.
The BBPA said by the time it received the go-ahead, it was too late to continue with the literary event.
“They got back to us on November 27, asking us for three dates for the event. We had committed to booksellers from Delhi and Mumbai with our scheduled dates. They have already dispatched books, for which we have to pay,” BBPA secretary, Devaru Bhat, told Express.
He said a Navratri programme was held at Palace Grounds from October 5 to 12, under names of different organisers over three days each. “Even we proposed to hold the fair under the names of three organisers over three days each,” Bhat said.
DPAR Stands its Ground
DPAR principal secretary Sanjiv Kumar said since last December (after the government order), there was not a single case where a programme was allowed to take place for more than three days.
“The Navaratri and other programmes have been challenged in the court by the royal family. In this case, a special permission was given by the Chief Minister for three days and any relaxation needs to happen at his level. Such exhibitions are not allowed to be held in the first place,” Kumar said.
The BBPA plans to approach CM Siddaramaiah again to seek permission for the event for 10 days from January 31. “We want to organise it at Palace Grounds as it is convenient for visitors,” Bhat said.