New Delhi, May 9: The Delhi High Court today asked the Centre to produce record related to writers who returned their Sahitya Akademi awards in protest against the Akademi's alleged "indifference" over the murder of its member and author M M Kalburgi and alleged intolerance.
A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath expressed the desire to see the record during a hearing of a plea to frame guidelines that if Sahitya Akademi awardees return their awards, they should also return the prize money and royalties they may have earned through sale of their books.
It said that if the guidelines are framed, then what if someone breaks that. The court also wished to know from the counsel of the Centre and Sahitya Akademi about the status of case, if any, lodged in relation to the murder of fellow writer and Sahitya Akademi board member Kalburgi.
The court had in December last year issued notices to the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and Sahitya Akademi and sought their replies on the plea which contended that the "action of returning awards has the effect of tarnishing India's image".
The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL), filed by advocate Haji Mohammad Majid Qureshi and a religious organisation which has said that "the present system whereby writers are allowed to retain royalties earned by them through sale of copies of their books despite returning the award is arbitrary and illogical."