Bengaluru: Following High Court’s (HC) direction to Kannada Sahitya Academy to review its decision of conferring 2013 Academy Award on litterateur M.D. Gogeri (now late), the family of the late litterateur has returned the Award yesterday.
It may be recalled that Gogeri was honoured with the Academy Award for his book ‘Maha Maathe Mallakka’ in the category of ‘Lalitha Prabandha’ for 2013, and it was announced in 2016.
However, Bharadwaja K. Anandatheertha, writer from Kanive village in Somwarpet taluk, Kodagu district, whose book ‘Koutukavallada Kshanagalu’ was also in the race, had approached the HC alleging lapses in the selection process.
The Court, in its order dated June 2, 2022, had instructed the Academy to form a Sub-Committee to review both books, which had scored equal marks, and to recommend for awarding book prize for the year 2013. Gogeri passed away in 2021.
Speaking to a section of the press, M.D. Gogeri’s son R.M. Gogeri said that as requested by the Academy, they have couriered the citation and cheque for Rs. 5,000. “As the HC has directed the Academy to review the decision, we were asked to return it until they arrive at a decision. Our father was a citizen who abided by the law of the land and Courts. Following his principle, we returned it with respect.”
Stating that he and Gogeri did not know each other personally, Bharadwaja clarified: “My intention of approaching the Court was to streamline the lapses in the selection process, not to get an award for myself. My contention was that the Academy had not read our books while taking a decision after the three member jury gave its marks which incidentally was the same for both of us. When I sought information under the RTI Act, I got to know that the Sub-Committe had chosen Gogeri’s book, within a day, though it had not gone through either of the two books. I questioned this lapse in Court, which has upheld my contention.”