More interest now in pocket version of Constitution, courtesy Rahul Gandhi

People have started showing more interest in the coat pocket edition of the Constitution after Gandhi pulled it out on several occasions.


Published Jun 16, 2024 | 2:53 PM Updated Jun 16, 2024 | 2:53 PM

Rahul Gandhi. (X)

By Arunav Sinha

Measuring roughly 20 centimetres in length and nine centimetres in breadth, a leather-bound copy of the Constitution, which was frequently flashed by former Congress president Rahul Gandhi during the Lok Sabha elections has a deep Lucknow connection thanks to its publishers, who first printed it in 2009.

And if publishers Eastern Book Company are to be believed, people have started showing more interest in the coat pocket edition of the Constitution after Gandhi pulled it out on several occasions during the campaign.

Sumeet Malik, one of the directors of the Eastern Book Company, told PTI that the idea of printing a court pocket edition came from Supreme Court advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, who suggested that they should publish a version that fits easily in the lawyers’ court pockets.

“The first edition was launched in 2009 and there have been about 16 editions of this book, which have been published so far. And over the years, these copies have been purchased by many lawyers and judges, and also given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Ram Nath Kovind when he became the President of India,” said Malik.

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Gifted by dignitaries to each other

He added that the book has also been gifted by dignitaries to each other. The Supreme Court judges also carry copies when travelling abroad to gift a copy to their counterparts.

Explaining the dimension of the coat pocket Constitution, Malik said that they used Bible paper which is very thin. He also said that a lot of effort went into deciding the font and font size. All the article numbers are in red colour and the text is in black, Malik said, adding there was no specific request from any quarter of the law fraternity on the font, font size or colour used.

When asked whether people started evincing more interest in this book after Rahul Gandhi started flashing this book at his election rallies, Malik said, “People are now asking for it and they have evinced more interest in it ever after Rahul Gandhi started flashing the book at his poll meetings and election rallies, and now orders have started coming in.”

“In the first edition, we had sold about 700 – 800 copies. When we came to the last edition (16th), we were selling about 5,000-6,000 copies per edition. We hope that in this year, with so much information spreading about this, more copies will be sold,” he added.

Gandhi’s address

On 10 May, Gandhi addressed the Samvidhan Sammelan in Lucknow which was organised by the Samruddha Bharat Foundation.

He had then accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of attacking the Constitution.

“Modi ji is a king, I am telling the truth,” Gandhi had said.

The 14th edition of the coat pocket Constitution, which was published in 2022 was priced at ₹745.

The foreword written by former Attorney General of India KK Venugopal for the 14th edition says, “When you hold this small leather-bound book in your hands, you are holding the very destiny of the nation written 70 years ago. Would the founding fathers have ever imagined the tribulations, the controversies, the confrontation that would arise, when the provisions are implemented?”

“At the same time, they would, undoubtedly, have conceived of the vast benefits that the disadvantaged sections of the society would derive through the implementation of the provisions of the Constitution,” he said.

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The company

According to the company website, the EBC Group established in 1942 is in legal publishing with offices in several Indian cities and abroad.

It was in the 1940s when two brothers — late CL Malik and his younger brother — late PL Malik, decided to settle in Lucknow and embark upon a career in law bookselling and publishing. They laid the foundation of what has today grown into a group of companies under the banner of EBC.

Meanwhile, senior UP Congress leader and AICC member Ashok Singh told PTI, “After seeing our leader Rahul Gandhi ji flashing the leather-bound Constitution book, I have placed an order for it through an online e-commerce portal. The way he displayed the book has increased the level of curiosity in me towards the book and I am eagerly waiting for a copy of the book.”

He added that not only the level of curiosity towards the book has increased among the party workers, but people’s faith in the Constitution has also increased due to which surprising electoral results were witnessed in Uttar Pradesh in the recently-concluded Lok Sabha elections.

Lucknow-based tax lawyer Ashish Tripathi said, “I am also looking forward to the upcoming edition of the coat pocket Constitution, especially after it was flashed by Rahul Gandhi a number of times while campaigning for the INDIA bloc candidates in the Lok Sabha elections.”

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