Last year, Pune police arrested activist Vernon Gonsalves for allegedly having links with the banned CPI-Maoist. And yesterday, at his bail plea hearing at the Bombay HC, Justice Sarang Kotwal had an interesting comment about the books and documents discovered at his place.
Reportedly, Justice Kotwal had this question for Gonsalves, over his copy of Tolstoy's War and Peace.
Why would you keep a book about a war in another country at your home?
War and Peace, written by Russian author Leo Tolstoy, is considered as one of the greatest works in world literature. And Twitterati was quick to call out the judge's illogical concerns over the classic.
Astounding! HC judge asks an activist alleged to be a Maoist, "Why have you kept (Tolstoy's classic novel) War & Peace in your house?"! What kind of HC judge would ask such a question?! What have we done to the judiciary?!https://t.co/X6qfcT35fC— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) August 29, 2019
Now that War and Peace is Anti national what will the honourable Bombay High Court do about Tolstoy Marg in Delhi. 🤔— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) August 29, 2019
The judge should leave his Pride and Prejudice aside, and try use his Sense and Sensibility, and then he'd realise that the matter of reading War and Peace is not about Crime and Punishment, but about Power and Glory, lest his tenure will be a time for Laughter and Forgetting. https://t.co/LUkvxpez5P— Salil Tripathi سلیل تریپاٹھی સલિલ ત્રિપાઠી (@saliltripathi) August 29, 2019
Realized that my chances of getting bail are slim in today's India.— Akash Banerjee (@TheDeshBhakt) August 29, 2019
Have have much 'worse' literature on my bookshelf than #WarAndPeace
Manto, Doniger, Rushdie, EVEN A BOOK ON JINNAH 😲😲😲 pic.twitter.com/ERLKyDWRFA
I have a copy of War and Peace.— Ankit Lal (@AnkitLal) August 29, 2019
Does that mean I can be sent to jail?
Leo Tolstoy remains one of the greatest writers of all time and War and Peace is a classic taught at universities across the world. That a judge should say this is chilling , surreal. We are all in the grip of collective delusional insanity https://t.co/i1pBWOpdNJ— Sagarika Ghose (@sagarikaghose) August 28, 2019
This picture is from July 2013— Advaid (@Advaidism) August 29, 2019
Modi reading Leo Tolstoy's "War and peace."
As of now, Justice Kotwal has not responded to the criticism he's faced on social media.