CUTTACK: The Orissa High Court on Monday concluded hearing on the PIL challenging selection of Odia novel ‘Achinha Basabhumi’ by Kalpana Kumari Devi for the Kendriya Sahitya Akademi award. The division bench comprising Chief Justice V Gopalagowda and Justice BN Mohapatra would deliver the judgment on
The Bench had earlier issued notice to the Centre and the Akademi authorities while issuing an interim stay on the presentation of the award. The award was to be presented on February 14.
The selection of the novel has stirred a huge controversy leading to a PIL by novelist Sricharan Pratap alias Kaniska alleging that it was chosen in gross violation of established rules and norms. The award rule stipulates nomination of a work in any of the recognised languages, which is first published during the three years prior to the year immediately preceding the year of the award. Thus, the novel in contention should have been written between 2007 and 2009 to qualify for the 2011 award.
Citing an interview of the author published in a monthly magazine ‘Jugashree Juganari’ in 2010, the petitioner stated that she stated that she had given up writing for the last 20 years. This implied that she had not written a book between 2007 and 2009 and it was written in 2010 going by her words. Thus, the book did not qualify for selection, the petitioner submitted. The petitioner also alleged that ‘Achinha Basabhumi’ did not feature in the ground list and was suddenly inserted in the shortlist.