Mumbai Sept 3(ILNS): The Bombay High Court, today, issued notice on a Petition filed seeking to include the sale of books as an essential service under the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA), 1968.
The plea has been filed by Marathi Prakashak Parishad, an organisation of Marathi book publishers from Pune, through Advocate Asim Sarode.
A Bench of comprised Justice KK Tated and Justice PK Chavan issued notice to the Central and State government and sought their responses.
It was said in the petition that Covid-19 restrictions have adversely affected the book publishing industry and if the availability of alcohol was considered during a lockdown, the petitioner organization pondered why books could not be included among essential services.
“It is a fact that books provide food for thought and reading reduces stress. As we consider food as an essential element, it is time to consider books, which provide food for thoughts, also as essential,” said the petition, adding that books provide great help to people living with anxiety by offering better mental health.
The plea also stated that parents are not allowed to go to book shops to purchase books for their school-going children and therefore, they had to face difficulties.
According to the petition, no definite definition of an essential item has been given in the Act. Therefore, it is necessary that books should be included in the list of essential ingredients like food. The government should be directed to take concrete steps in this direction.
Apart from this, it was alleged in the petition that due to the lockdown, only medicines and food shops were allowed to open at this time. There has been a considerable economic loss to publishers in the Corona period, it added./ILNS/SS/SNG