NEW DELHI, Feb 12: India’s highest civilian awards – the Bharat Ratna and the Padma awards, cannot be used as prefix or suffix to names or as titles. Rather, they can be taken away by the government in case of misuse, Minister of State for Home Hansraj Gangaram Ahir informed the Lok Sabha in reply to a written question on Tuesday.
The MoS informed the House that the national awards such as Bharat Ratna, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri “do not amount to titles within the meaning of Article 18(1) of the Constitution and thus are not to be used as prefixes or suffixes to the name of the recipient in any manner whatsoever”.
The article is about ‘Abolition of titles’ and its section 1 states, “No title, not being a military or academic distinction, shall be conferred by the State.”
The minister said that in case of any misuse, the defaulter shall forfeit the national award conferred on him or her by following the procedure laid down in regulation 10 related to creation of these awards.
Regulation 10 states that the president may cancel and annul the awards of the decoration to any person and thereupon his or her name shall be erased from the register and the awardee shall be required to surrender it.
The minister informed that immediately after these awards are conferred, every awardee (except a posthumous case) is communicated the rules and advised not to prefix or suffix the award to his or her name.
As many as 48 personalities have been awarded with Bharat Ratna, country’s highest civilian award, since 1955 when it was instituted to recognise the work of people in politics, science, space, education, medicine and other areas.
Similarly, 307 people have been awarded Padma Vibhushan, 1,255 Padma Bhushan and 3,005 Padma Shri.