Sahitya Award 2011: Stay lifted and Case Dismissed; But Questions Stay

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Presently in New York City, I have no direct access to the Orissa High Court Verdict on Sahitya Award, 2011. The verdict is not yet placed in its website.

But from what I gather from sources online, the High Court has lifted the stay it had imposed on presentation of the Award and has dismissed the PIL that had challenged the Award, holding that the issue does not fit into a PIL. The issue of PIL and maintainability thereof is dealt with by different courts from different angles at different times and in matters of law interpretations often differ.

So without any prejudice, it can be said that the Sahitya Award 2011 in Oriya chapter has been saved on technical ground.

In my discussions on this award, I had raised various points pertinent to the Award on the basis of the Sahitya Akademi Rules. I had found that the Rules of the Akademi in matter of selection of the book ‘Achihna Basabhumi’ for the Award were blatantly contravened. I do not know, if those points were also raised in the case before the High Court. I cannot say if the Court has gone into the merit aspect of the Award. I can be clear on this aspect only after perusing the verdict of the Court. But on what online information helps me grasp, I am afraid, the Award has not been cleared on the basis of the merit of the Award. So, perhaps, the questions I had raised on the Award in these pages stay despite disposal of the PIL by the Court. We can return to the issue after reading the verdict.

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