WRIT PETITION ON PADMA AWARDS DISCRIMINATION FOR URGENT SUO MOTU CONSIDERATION
Moved under articles 226, 12, 13 and 14 and also under article 51A of the Constitution of India and appropriate rules framed thereunder.
Dr. Leo Rebello, The Petitioner-in-Person
Residing at: 28/552 Samata Nagar, Kandivali East, Mumbai 400101.
The Union of India, through the offices of The Prime Minister and The Union Home Minister .. The Respondents
THE PETITIONER UNDERSIGNED SHEWETH
The undersigned being aggrieved, since 1991, that his name is not being considered for the Padma Bhushan continuously for so many years, inspite of several recommendations and having received no replies to various notices sent Re: irregularities, arbitrariness and/or corruption, is moving this Writ Petition under article 226 of the Constitution of India, urging the Chief Justice and other Judges of this High Court, to take suo motu action on this important issue, in public interest, as this is not a solitary instance of discrimination as further reading will prove.
Justification for considering this Writ Petition as suo motu: When grave irregularities take place, it is not necessary for the Hon’ble High Courts or the Supreme Court of India, to wait for conscientious citizens to knock at their doors or when approached, as in this case, to stand on technicalities. May it be noted that the time is very short and the process may be put in motion. Later on, if required, the Petitioner may be asked to file a regular Writ Petition, which direction he undertakes to obey.
Brief Introduction of the Petitioner:
Dr. Leo Rebello is one of the seniormost qualified Naturopaths in India. He has trained and treated thousands since 1978, delivered over 10,000 lectures in 63 countries, including at WHO, UNAIDS, UNDP, UNESCO, UNEP, UNYO, IAEWP WONM, UN-Habitat and Medicina Alternativa conferences. He has been interviewed by the world media and received several prestigious awards. His original tome on “AIDS and Alternative Medicine” (which has gone into 4 editions) and now translated in Hindi has reached out to masses with the profound message “From AIDS Scare to AIDS Care”. Besides, he has written 39 other books on Nature Cure, Yoga, Holistic Healing, Tropical Diseases, Panacea for Pain, Cancer, Muscular Dystrophies etc. many of which have gone into multiple editions and his Nature Cure and Yoga Therapy book, 3rd revised and enlarged edition, has been translated and published in Turkish language (10,000 copies). His “Revised Oath for Doctors” and “Health Reforms” or scholarly articles “War on Your Health” are being circulated widely and have been translated into various world languages and read on the Radios, Televisions, in universities and at various conferences. He also has 31 years of experience in the field of social work, human rights, education (both formal and informal) and is associated with several NGOs in responsible capacities. He was the Special Executive Magistrate for 18 years and served on the Indian Film Censor Board for two years. Since 2004, he is also the World Peace Envoy and his recent inspiring book WORLD WITHOUT WARS has been nominated for Peace Nobel.
Locus: The petitioner’s rights have been affected since 1991, when he was first selected for Padma Award, notified to that effect, and then his name was removed. As such, he has been discriminated time and again, impinging on his fundamental right under article 14. And he is not the only one to be discriminated thus. In essence, this is a pro bono publico petition.
Whether Notices served on the Respondents?: Yes. Four telling notices served are reproduced below for ready reference, with some public comments received. No response from the Respondents has been received till date. That further proves scant respect of corrupt authorities to law and justice. Selling awards is a big business in Delhi, both in the Govt. as also by ‘letter-head organizations’.
Brief Background of Padma Awards: The Government of India instituted on 2nd January 1954 four Civilian awards known as Padma Awards, namely, Bharat Ratna, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri for exemplary contribution in the fields of Art, Literature, Medicine, Education, Social Work, Civil Service and Public Affairs.
The names of the Padma awardees are declared on Republic Day and the awards are conferred in second or third week of March at the Rashtrapati Bhawan, Delhi by the President of India. Till that time, technically, the names of the Award winners can be withdrawn or included, if grave error has been noticed.
The petitioner’s name was recommended by several eminent persons for Padma Bhushan under Medicine category, for his monumental contribution to Nature Cure, which is one of the seven recognised systems of medicines in India and Mahatma Gandhi, Vinoba Bhave, Morarji Desai and several others have stood by it. Dr. Leo Rebello has taken on the mantle to spread this safer, cheaper, effective, reliable and ageold system of health care, and has served the nation well since 1978. He pioneered the first distance learning course in Naturopathy in 1978. More details can be found on his popular website: www.healthwisdom.org
Infact, the Petitioner NOT only deserves the Award for the outstanding contribution and original research in the Traditional and Natural Medicine, in which he is renowned all over the world as the Guru of Holistic Healing, but he could have been also considered for Literature (40 books, hundreds of articles, poems, reports and letters to editors written) and for Social Work, having dedicated himself to it for the last 31 years and helped thousands in all these years. Infact, under section 32 of the Advocates Act, the undersigned as a Human Rights Activist has helped so many, that his name was shortlisted as the Member of Maharashtra Human Rights Commission, but again, corruption being what it is, Shri Subhash Lalla, an Ex IAS, who was then working as the Principal Secretary to the then Chief Minister Shri Vilasrao Deshmukh was selected for vacancy reserved for eminent social worker.
The fact that such an eminent person is not selected on Merit, and the fact that so far no one has got the Padma Award for outstanding contribution to Naturopathy (category Medicine), itself proves how the selection process is faulty. Corruption even in Awards or for selection to appointments of MPs under eminent persons category (for which too his name has gone several times) itself proves how corrupt and discriminatory is the Govt. machinery.
1.. Dr. Leo Rebello fulfills all the basic criteria laid down for the Padma Bhushan Award. On Merit he should have got the Award long ago. But the fact that his name was first selected in 1991, he was notified of it on 23.01.1991 and then it disappeared from the list, and year after year he is being discriminated, itself proves mischief, incompetence or corruption in Awards selection. Infact, it is openly said that one can get the name included in the Padma Awards list for amounts ranging from Rs.10 lakhs to Rs.1 crore and the petitioner knows how certain persons have got these awards by paying or through influence.
2.. The Hon’ble Judges will surely be conscious of the facts how the Chief Minister of Maharashtra is now pushing the name of cricketer Sachin Tendulkar for Bharat Ratna, on the specious ground that “he is an eminent Maharashtrian Cricketer and even theMaharashtrian President being his fan will not have any objection to it”. What an abomination, inspite of public ire about the 2010 Padma Awards list itself. This further proves how the authorities show scant respect to principles of natural justice or contempt for even the Supreme Court Order.
3.. Through RTI applications moved by activists, through print and electronic media, and through the four explicit annexures reproduced below it is prima facie proved that there is corruption in Padma Awards list, and this Hon’ble Court has to intervene in timely manner by issuing appropriate writs in larger public interest and for probity.
Pending final disposal of this WP on Merit, the faulty list declared on 26th January 2010 be stayed and no award ceremony should be held in March this year to confer the said awards, until further scrutiny by this august court. Otherwise, it will amount to condoning the continuing corruption and discrimination.
Three tainted persons, namely, NRI hotelier Sant Singh Chatwal, Dr. Prakash Reddy of the Apollo Hospital, and actor Saif Ali Khan should be removed. Instead the name of Dr. Leo Rebello included in the Padma Bhushan list. This should not be difficult, as in the past, the names of Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak and Shri Kishorebhai Ratilal Zaveri were released on January 30, 1991. [Ref. Decision dated 10.08.2009 delivered by the Central Information Commission in Mr. S.C.Agrawal’s RTI appeal].
Similarly, the name of octogenarian Acharya Janki Ballabh Shastri, who has rightly turned down the Padma Shri shaming the Govt. for choosing his juniors much before him, may also be considered for Padma Bhushan on merit. If this is taken care of, the Govt. can save its face, but also the message will be driven home that in future such aberrations will not be tolerated by the guardians of law.
The Hon’ble Court may hold the Padma Awards list 2010 in abeyance and direct the Govt of India to constitute a committee under the Chairmanship of the Vice President of India with Cabinet Secretary as the ex officio secretary, the opposition leader and 5 eminent citizens of India, and the undersigned being the petitioner and who has studied the gaphla in the Padma awards selection since 1991, as members. This committee of 9 persons, within 15 days, should make an objective assessment and report-whether discrimination is practiced while conferring these national awards and to check if undeserving people have received these national awards or not. This Hon’ble court may then pass final orders on the basis of Report of the constituted committee referred to in this para. This will be swift, just and proper remedy, for which this Petition is submitted.
This Hon’ble Court is within its rights, jurisdiction and duty-bound to intervene to protect probity in public life and save the nation’s highest awards being given or sold to the undeserving, inspite of Supreme Court judgment of 15.12.1995. If this is not contempt, pray what is?
When the issue of Hotelier Sant Singh Chatwal’s name was questioned, as to how he could be given Padma Bhushan inspite of theCBI cases etc., it was expected that the govt of India will come out by listing exceptional and outstanding contributions made by him to the Indian society. But the GOI instead maintained the veil of secrecy by declining to disclose as to how the said individual’s name crept into the selection list, whereas, the said “award selectee” revealed the nexus when he adamantly and unwisely blared that he will personally come to receive the award since he is Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s man and worked on his behalf in the USA. Need we say more?
The Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court of India had issued appropriate directions on 15.12.1995. Justice Kuldip Singh, who was part of that Bench, had observed: “the Padma awards have been conferred on businessmen and industrialists who have multiplied their own wealth and have hardly helped the growth of national interest”. These words aptly suit NRI Hotelier Sant Singh Chhatwal, as also Dr. Pratap Reddy of the Apollo Hospital, or Actor Saif Ali Khan. But even Justice Kuldip Singh had not envisioned the crimes that would be part of the grow-rich process.
May it kindly be noted that these prestigious civilian awards are conferred for exceptional and outstanding contribution to the Indian society, not because someone is a director of some big industry or a Multi National Corporation, like Ms Indira Nooyi, serving as CEO of PepsiCo, who was selected, last year. She may be the highest paid NRI in bankrupt USA, but what is her contribution to India? On the contrary, Pepsi and Coca Cola has not only ruined our businesses, but also the health of the younger generation.
The paramount consideration in preparing Padma Awards List is the person’s “exceptional and outstanding contribution” to the nation. The contribution here should be taken as positive and proven contribution to the welfare of the people of India and not as personal record breaking performance, like in the case of shooter Abhinav Bindra or cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, because for the field of Sport there are other awards. Like one person cannot be held guilty twice, one person should not get two awards for the same feat.
“The Indian experience with regard to the Executive, Judicative and Legislative instrumentalities over six decades has been one of exploitation darkening into misgiving, misgiving deepening into despair and despair exploding into violence. The categorical imperative for stability in democracy is, therefore, to see that every instrumentality is functionally kept on course and any deviance or misconduct, abuse or aberration, corruption or delinquency is duly monitored and disciplinary measures taken promptly to make unprofitable for the delinquents to depart from the code of conduct and to make it possible for people, social activists, professional leaderships and other duly appointed agencies to enforce punitive therapeutics when robed culprits violate moral-legal norms.”
Opined Justice Krishna Iyer about two decades ago.
Under article 51A of the Constitution of India, every citizen (that includes the petitioner and the Hon’ble Judges of this Court) has to perform 10 fundamental duties. Hence, this petition, which this Petitioner firmly believes will be considered with due attention. Suffice it to say that the Petitioner is NOT the only person discriminated by the corrupt regime and this petition may be turned into a PIL and the Hon’ble Court may appoint an amicus curiae to guide itself on finer points so that the society marches ahead by putting into effect Zero Tolerance to Corruption slogan.
I, Dr. Leo Rebello, age 60, proud Indian citizen, hereby solemnly affirm on 3rd March, 2010, that whatever stated in this petition as also the annexures are studied facts and submit this important petition for kind and urgent consideration of this Hon’ble Court, to prevent the law breakers from escaping the long arm of the law.
Dr. Leo Rebello
The Petitioner in Person
3rd March 2010
Dr. Leo Rebello