The Delhi High court on Monday observed that Sahitya Akademi awardees are not eligible to return their awards as they are conferred after considerable deliberations.
A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal said that the executive board of the Akademi in 2015 had resolved that awards once granted cannot be taken back and therefore, there was no need to formulate guidelines against the return of the awards.
In 2015, several writers, poets and artists had returned their awards protesting against the Akademi’s “silence” on the murder of M M Kalburgi as well as against the atmosphere of “intolerance and communalism” in the backdrop of the Dadri lynching incident over rumours of beef consumption.
Opposing the return of awards, a PIL was moved in the high court for framing of guidelines to return the prize money received along with the awards.
The PIL, by an advocate and a religious organisation, had also sought framing of norms to protect the sanctity of the Sahitya Akademi Puraskar as is done for the National symbols. It had also urged for strong punitive action against those who return such awards.
The court dismissed the petition, saying since the Sahitya Akademi’s Constitution does not provide for taking back any award once given, “the issue sought to be raised by the petitioners deserves no further consideration”.