The Delhi high court said on Monday that Sahitya Akademi winners were not eligible to return their awards as they were granted after considerable deliberations.
A bench of chief justice G Rohini and justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal said 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 their return.
In 2015, several writers, poets and artists returned their awards, protesting against the Akademi’s “silence” on the murder of MM Kalburgi as well as the atmosphere of “intolerance and communalism” in the backdrop of the Dadri lynching incident.
Opposing the return of awards, a petition was moved in the high court for framing of guidelines to return the prize money received with the honour.
The petition had also sought framing of norms to protect the sanctity of the Sahitya Akademi Puraskar, as is done for 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”.