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Panel to consider conferring Padma Vibhushan on Justice Verma

Last Updated: Monday, March 31, 2014 - 21:40

New Delhi: Left red faced after late Chief Justice of India J S Verma`s family refused to accept Padma Bhushan conferred on him, Padma award committee will soon look into the possibility of honouring him with Padma Vibushan.

The move comes after Verma`s family refused to accept the award with his daughter claiming that he had been initially nominated for Padma Vibushan, country`s second highest civilian award.

Official sources said Home Ministry will soon place before the selection panel the letter of Justice Verma`s wife written to President Pranab Mukherjee explaining the reasons for refusing to accept the award.

The official members of the panel -- the Cabinet Secretary, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Secretary to the President and Union Home Secretary -- will have a relook at the decision to confer Padma Bhushan to Justice Verma and see whether he could be bestowed Padma Vibhushan, the sources said.

Of the 127 people, who were conferred with Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri on the eve of this year`s Republic day, 66 were honoured with the awards by the President at a special function held at Rashtrapati Bhavan today.

The remaining awardees would be honoured by the President at another special function to be held on April 26.

The decision on the former Chief Justice of India would be taken before the next function, sources said.

Immediately after Justice Verma`s name was announced as one of the Padma Bhushan awardees, in a letter to the President, Verma`s wife had said, "The greatest honour to him remains how he is held in the hearts and minds of his fellow countrymen: as a true friend not just to women or the youth, but to those most in need of one...."

"He never hankered or lobbied for any acclaim, reward or favour.... We do not want to accept what we know justice Verma himself would not have accepted," the letter dated January 29 said.

Justice Verma`s daughter Shubra had said in early January that some officials from the Home Ministry had visited Verma`s hometown Satna in Madhya Pradesh and enquired about him.

"Some officials from the Home Ministry visited my father`s hometown in Satna in Madhya Pradesh early this month (January) and had enquired about him.

"When I sought to know the reason for the enquiry, he said father`s name has been nominated for Padma Vibhushan. Even someone from the Home Ministry visited our house here and had said the same thing," Shubra had said.

Verma, who had headed the government committee to frame stricter laws and suggested legal reforms to deal with sexual assault cases in the wake of the December 16 Delhi gang-rape case, died on April 22 last year following multiple organ failure.

First Published: Monday, March 31, 2014 - 21:40

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