On 31st March, 2022, the Delhi High Court turned down a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking a directive to the Central Government to award the Bharat Ratna – India’s highest civilian honour – to leading industrialist, former Chairperson of Tata Sons and philanthropist, Ratan Tata, for his exceptional services to the nation.
A bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi stated that it was not for the court to direct the authorities to award the Bharat Ratna to a person. “What kind of a petition is this? Is this for the court to direct (the government to award Bharat Ratna),” questioned the bench, also comprising Justice Navin Chawla.
When the counsel for the petitioner urged the court to “at least request” the government, the Acting Chief Justice responded, “Go make the request. Where is the question of the court stepping in?”
The petitioner, a social worker – Rakesh, said in his petition, “Ratan Tata is a great businessman and under his leadership, the business focused on global expansion. After retiring as Chairman of Tata Sons in 2012, Ratan Tata has been active in investing, in a personal capacity, in startups and encouraging young entrepreneurs.” It also stated that in March 2020, Ratan Tata had pledged Rs 500 crore from Tata Trusts to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. The revenue of Tata Group’s 30 companies in FY20 was $106 billion. “The 30 companies spread across 10 clusters operate in over 100 companies and collectively employ more than 7.5 lakh people,” the petition read.
However, the counsel for the petitioner withdrew the petition after the court said that it would dismiss the same with costs.