On the auspicious occasion of the 71st Republic Day, President Ram Nath Kovind approved conferment of 141 Padma Awards this year. These Awards are conferred by the President himself at the ceremonial functions held in the Rashtrapati Bhawan around March/ April every year. This time the President of India has approved conferment of 141 awards out of which four Awards are of duo case, which means the Award will be counted as one.
The Padma Awards
The Padma Awards is one of the highest civilian Awards that are conferred in the country. The Awards are conferred in three categories namely, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri. The Awards are given in numerous disciplines and fields such as social work, public affairs, sports, art, literature and education, science and engineering, civil service, trade and industry, medicine, etc.
The Padma Vibhushan is awarded to persons who have done exceptional and distinguished service in his/her field. Padma Bhushan to those for distinguished service of high order, and finally the Padma Shri are given for distinguished service in any field. The Padma Awards are announced every year on the auspicious occasion of Republic Day. This year 141 Awards are to be conferred as approved by the President of India.
- This year’s list consists of 7 Padma Vibhushan, 16 Padma Bhushan and 118 Padma Shri Awards.
- Out of the total 141 Awardees, 34 are women and 18 persons from the category of foreigners/ NRI/ PIO/ OCI.
- 12 Awards will be received posthumously.
Deep look into some of the Awardees belonging to the Legal field
This year’s Padma Awards conferees 141 Awards, out of which 34 are women, 18 persons from the category of foreigner/ NRI/ PIO/ OCI and 12 posthumous Awardees. Though all the awardees deserves cheers and congratulations from the whole Country, we’ll focus on some of the Awardees who have roots in the legal field and went to achieve such great heights in their respective fields.
Mr. Arun Jaitley (Padma Vibhushan)
The former Finance Minister was a Senior Advocate in the Supreme Court of India. He also held the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Commerce and Industry and Law and Justice during the Vajpayee Government. He was also responsible for introduction of the Goods and Service tax that brought the whole country under one GST regime, demonetization, and inclusion of the railway budget in the general budget and also for introduction of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy code.
Sir Anerood Jugnauth (Padma Vibhushan)
Sir Anerood is a Mauritius Politician and Barrister who has served as both the Prime Minister and President of his Country. He has held a constitutional post since the 1970s and has been relevant in the country’s political scenario throughout. He is the longest serving Prime Minister of Mauritius with more than 18 years of tenure. He was also called by the Lincoln’s Inn. He was also made the Queens Counsel in 1980 and also made a member of the Privy Council in 1983.
Mrs. Sushma Swaraj (Padma Vibhushan)
The former External Affairs Minister was also a Supreme Court lawyer. She was only the second woman to hold the office as External Affairs Minister after Indira Gandhi. Sushma Swaraj started practicing as an advocate in the Supreme Court of India in 1973. Her husband was closely associated with George Fernandes and as a result of this Sushma Swaraj became a part of Fernandes’s legal defence team. After emergency she joined the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Mr. Muzaffar Hussain Baig (Padma Bhushan)
Muzaffar Hussain Baig was the former Deputy Chief Minister of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. An alumnus of Harvard Law School Baig worked in law firms in the United States and New Delhi. He also held the office as the Advocate General of Jammu and Kashmir from 1987-1989. He started his political career in 1996 with Jammu and Kashmir People’s Conference Party.
Mr. Neelakanta Ramakrishna Madhava Menon (Padma bhushan)
Lastly, the father of modern legal education in India, Mr. Menon was an Indian Civil Servant, Lawyer and legal educator. He was the founder-director of the National Law School of India University and the National Judicial Academy, Bhopal. He was also the founder-vice-chancellor of West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences. He was member of the Law Commission of India and also has been members of several expert commissions and committees like the Legal Aid (1973), the Criminal Justice Reforms (2002-2003), Police Act Drafting Committee (2005-2006), etc. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 2003 and now have been conferred the Padma Bhushan posthumously by the Government of India in 2020.
Ending with some honorable mentions, though they’re not from the legal field or have any legal roots, they’ve fought for the justice which ultimately is the main aim of law. Firstly Mr. Abdul Jabbar, an activist who fought for the rights of the victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy, he himself was a victim and lost his life due to affects of the same. He was awarded the Padma Shri this year posthumously. Lastly, Mr. Sayed Mehboob Shah Qadri, who has worked relentlessly to held Muslim women abandoned by their husbands under triple talaq. He assisted them with financial aid and legal assistance so that they can stand on their own feet. He was also conferred with the Padma Shri by the Government of India this year.
Edited by J. Madonna Jephi
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje
1. Press Information Bureau, Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs, Padma Award 2020 Announced, https://pib.gov.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=197647. (last visited 27th January 2020, 3:48 PM)
2. The Hindu, https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/full-list-of-2020-padma-awardees/article30656841.ece (last visited 27th January 2020, 3:48 PM)