The Madras high court on Friday dismissed a petition seeking a direction to the Central government to confer Bharath Ratna on late AIADMK leader J Jayalalithaa. The first bench led by Chief justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice M Sundar rejected the petition refusing to interfere in such matters. The court observed that it did not want to dictate the Central government on who India's highest civilian award should be granted to.
The bench, while hearing the PIL filed by one KK Ramesh, also made it clear that deciding on conferring such honours was decided by the committee concerned and that courts can not issue directions even to consider representations.
The petition was filed by Ramesh in addition to the Tamil Nadu cabinet's decision to urge the Central government to confer Bharat Ratna to the deceased leader. In his petition, Ramesh had claimed that apart from being three-time chief minister of Tamil Nadu, Jayalalithaa had introduced pro-poor policies that benefitted the people. He added that he had made a similar representation to the Union of India on December 15, 2016, and since there was no response from the government, he had approached the court.
The Tamil Nadu cabinet had in its first meet post Jayalalithaa's death, resolved to suggest her name for considerations for Bharat Ratna. They also decided to urge the government to install a bronze statue of hers outside the parliament in Delhi. The cabinet also decided to rename M G Ramachandran memorial to include her name as well.