New Delhi: Bharat Ratna, the country's highest civilian award instituted in 1954, is given in recognition of exceptional service, performance of the highest order in any field of human endeavour.
Any person without distinction of race, occupation, position or sex is eligible for this award.
The recommendations for Bharat Ratna are made by the Prime Minister to the President. No formal recommendations for this are necessary.
The number of annual awards is restricted to a maximum of three in a particular year.
On conferment of the award, the recipient receives a Sanad (certificate) signed by the President and a medallion. The award does not carry any monetary grant.
In terms of Article 18 (1) of the Constitution, the award cannot be used as a prefix or suffix to the recipient's name.
However, should an award winner consider it necessary, he or she may use the following expression in their biodata or letterhead or visiting card etc. To indicate that he or she is a recipient of the award: 'Awarded Bharat Ratna by the President' or 'Recipient of Bharat Ratna Award'.