What Happens If Someone Recommends Name of ‘Shrimaan Osama Bin Laden ji’ for Padma Awards?

Subhash Chandra Agrawal for BeyondHeadlines

Chief Information Commissioner by his letter dated 31.05.2013 asked Union Home Minister to make public all details about selection of Padma awardees on website after announcement of awards in view of a number of RTI petitions being filed every year on the subject. But even after such recommendations made by Chief Information Commissioner, Union Ministry for Home Affairs (MHA) has not cared to make public such details.

Photo Courtesy: thehindu.comMHA had a healthy practice of disclosing all details about Padma awards including names of persons having recommended names of Padma awards. But later names of recommending persons were declined to be revealed in name of privacy. There have been many controversial names recommended (and even awarded too) for Padma awards in last several years which even include wilful defaulter of public-sector banks, habitual law-breakers and others known for getting these through lobbying. Many persons and Parliamentarians recommend dozens of names each for obliging everyone coming to them for being recommended, making selection-process unnecessarily burdened. What happens if someone recommends name of ‘Shrimaan Osama Bin Laden ji’ or ‘Mr Hafiz Saeed Saheb’ for Padma awards? People have a definite right to know about names of all those having recommended names for Padma awardees.

Even this year, controversy surrounded for a  Padma-awardee for the year 2013 which happens to be owner of a weight-loss clinic regularly visited by VVIPs including ministers and Parliamentarians. Media-report indicates that the awardee was successful in getting name recommended by seven Cabinet Ministers, ten Ministers of State and many Parliamentarians cutting across party-lines. Padma awards are thus being grossly misused for commercial benefits by getting recommendations through influential ones.

MHA should immediately make all such details public about selection of Padma awardees by putting all details including names of recommending persons on website as per specific directions dated 31.05.2013 from Chief Information Commissioner made under provisions of RTI Act.


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