The Supreme Court on Thursday stayed an order of the Andhra Pradesh High Court asking actor-producer Mohan Babu and actor Brahmanandam to return their Padma Shri awards to the Centre.

The former president of the BJP’s Andhra Pradesh unit, N. Indrasena Reddy, had filed a writ petition against the two in the Andhra Pradesh High Court for using the title ‘Padma Shri’ before their names during the promotion of the Telugu film Denikaina Ready (Ready for Anything), produced by Mr. Mohan Babu and starring his son Vishnu. The court told the appellants that it would be appropriate if they returned the awards to the government and then contested Mr. Reddy’s petition seeking cancellation of the honour.

“According to rules, the award does not amount to a title and cannot be used as a suffix or prefix to the winner's name on letterheads, invitation cards, posters and books among others,” the petitioner had contended in the High Court.

A Bench of Justices H.L. Dattu and S.A. Bobde granted the stay after the duo’s counsel, Soli Sorabjee, last week assured the court that the ‘Padma Shri’ title would not be misused.