The Delhi High Court has refused to stay the launch of a book titled ‘Will Power’, authored by Sjoerd Marijne, former coach of the Indian women’s hockey team.
The book is scheduled to be released on September 21, 2022.
The plaintiff Gurjit Kaur, a hockey player, stated that in the book, the author Sjoerd Marijne has divulged certain confidential information that was shared by the plaintiff with him in confidence, while he was the coach of the Indian women’s hockey team. The said confidential information relates to a medical condition that the plaintiff is stated to have been suffering from.
Counsel for the plaintiff contended that divulging of such confidential information amounts to a violation of the Code of Conduct of Hockey India, which has been signed by the author and former coach.
The counsel appearing on behalf of HarperCollins Publisher India Pvt Ltd submitted that there is nothing confidential about the said medical condition of the plaintiff as it is known to all the other team members as well. The lawyer for the publisher further contended that the plaintiff being a public figure/sports personality cannot have the right to privacy with regard to the same.
Lawyer for the publisher also submitted that the medical conditions of athletes have always been a subject matter of debate and therefore, the plaintiff cannot have any right to privacy.
The bench of Justice Amit Bansal in an order passed on September 15, 2022, stated, “I am not inclined to pass an ad interim order staying the launch of the book, without giving the defendants (Author and Publisher) an opportunity to place their stand on affidavit.
“There cannot be any confidentiality or privacy with regard to a medical condition of a sports personality. On a regular basis, there are news reports about injuries and medical conditions of sports personalities. Reference may be made to the compilation of such articles handed over by the counsel for the defendant in court.
If the plaintiff has been playing with this medical condition for many years, the medical condition cannot remain confidential. The manuscript of the book reveals that the plaintiff told all other teammates of this medical condition and they all rallied around her, noted the court.
There are laudatory references to the plaintiff in the manuscript of the book that despite the medical condition of the plaintiff, she has achieved success in the international field. Therefore, for all the aforesaid reasons, no prejudice can be caused to the plaintiff by the publication of the book. Therefore, the balance of convenience requires that no ad interim order is passed staying the release of the book, said the court
The bench listed the matter for November 18, 2022, after issuing notice to the author and publishers of the book on the present suit, which is filed and seeking relief of permanent and mandatory injunction as well as damages. (ANI)