In a setback to actor Mohan Babu, the High Court on Tuesday directed the ministry of home affairs to send a recommendation to the President for cancellation of the Padma Shri award given to the actor in 2007.
Perhaps this is the first time in the country that a court has asked for withdrawal of the award Padma Shri to a recipient.
A division bench comprising chief justice KJ Sengupta and justice PV Sanjay Kumar partially allowed a public interest litigation filed by BJP leader N Indrasena Reddy, seeking cancellation of the Padma Shri awards given to M Mohan Babu in 2007 and K Brahmanandam in 2009.
The petitioner said that prefixing the award to the name is in violation of Article 18 (1) of the Constitution and contrary to the Supreme Court’s direction.
When the matter came up for hearing on Tuesday, the counsel for Mohan Babu sought some more time to file a counter in the additional affidavit as was directed by the court earlier.
On January 28 this year, Indrasena Reddy filed an additional affidavit submitting that the script of Telugu feature film, ‘Jhummandi Naadam’, was signed by actor M Mohan Babu as the sole proprietor for Sree Lakshmi Prasanna Pictures and his name is prefixed with ‘Padma Shri’. The court then directed the actor to file a counter in a week’s time.
The bench on Tuesday refused to grant further time to Mohan Babu and prima facie concluded that the actor had deliberately misused the award and directed the ministry of home affairs to recommend to the President to cancel the ‘Padma Shri’ given to Mohan Babu and complete the process in the next two weeks. It requested the President to act upon such a recommendation in four weeks.