The Delhi High Court cleared on that there cannot be guidelines for returning the Sahitya Akademi awards as the akademi’s constitution did not provide for taking back any award. The High Court rejected a PIL which was asking for directions from the Centre to formulate rules in the event of returning the award by a recipient.
Due to soaring intolerance in the city, the Sahitya Akademi — An award given to eminent writers of ‘outstanding publications’ which comprises of a cash prize of 1 lakh; many writers have returned their awards in 2015.
The plea added that “returning the awards tarnished the country’s image” and as the award was a “national honour, it had to be protected just like the sanctity of national symbols such as the national flag or emblem”. “The Centre, too, had issued no guidelines in case of the awards being returned. If the awards were returned, the awardee could forego a part of royalties or other earnings, which might have accrued to him/her after the felicitation,” the PIL said.
Although the Akademi supports the freedom of speech and expression of the writers, there aren’t any provisions made when it comes to returning the award. Observing the Akademi’s rules,
the Centre’s counsel said formulating guidelines for returning of awards was not required. Dismissing the petition, the bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal and said “… The issue raised… deserves no further consideration”.