HC seeks reply from Akhilesh government on ‘arbitrary’ awards

Lucknow, Dec 21 (IANS) The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Wednesday sought a reply from the Uttar Pradesh government on a petition filed by the Centre for Civil Liberties against the Yash Bharati Awards being given in an arbitrary manner.

Centre’s counsel Nutan Thakur told the court that the state government is giving Rs 11 lakh and a huge monthly salary to the Yash Bharati awardees but the awards are being given in the most random and arbitrary manner and on complete whims and fancies. The state government counsel sought time to present a reply.

The bench of Justice Devendra Kumar Arora and Justice Rajan Roy said that public money was used for these awards and it cannot be used in an arbitrary manner. The court also summoned the Culture Secretary with records for the next hearing on January 23, 2017.

The petition has prayed for the setting up of an enquiry committee under a retired High Court judge to evaluate the awards given between 2012-16 and take the award money back from those given the award by flouting norms.

The Yash Bharati awards are the highest civilian awards given in the state. Constituted many years back by the then Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, successive Samajwadi Party (SP) governments have carried forward the awards.

There have been charges of nepotism and favouritism against the ruling party from many corners. Wives of IAS officials and allegedly favoured people have been named for these awards in the past.