The Delhi High Court on Monday dismissed a petition seeking directions to the Union Government to withdraw its decision to grant Padma Bhushan to US-based hotelier S.S. Chatwal, saying that all established procedures were followed before selecting him for the award by a high-power committee.
Dismissing the petition, a Division Bench comprising Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Mukta Gupta said the petitioner could not level wild allegations against Mr. Chatwal as the high-level committee had considered every aspect of the matter before forwarding his name for the award.
The Bench dismissed the petition after going through the relevant documents submitted to it by the Additional Solicitor-General, P.P. Malhotra.
The Court also observed that no case was pending against Mr. Chatwal as alleged by the petitioner.
Defending the conferment of the award on Mr. Chatwal, the Additional Solicitor-General submitted that the high-level committee had cleared the list of the awardees for this year, and Mr. Chatwal’s name was also cleared by this committee.
Seeking withdrawal of the decision to honour Mr. Chatwal, the petitioner S.K. Shah, a freelance journalist, submitted that the awardee had a dubious past and duped Indian banks of million of rupees.
He said that despite being the owner of a vast empire, Mr. Chatwal had got himself declared bankrupt by the competent authority in the US.
Despite knowing all these facts about Mr. Chatwal, the Union Government wilfully ignored them and selected him for the award, the petitioner submitted, adding that the selection committee had acted at the instance of the political masters to choose him for the award.
Referring to the logic for conferment of the award on Mr. Chatwal that he had played an important role in cementing the Indo-Us ties, the petitioner said that it was a fantastic work of fiction.