The late Justice J S Verma, who headed the committee that recommended landmark changes to India’s anti-rape law following the Delhi bus gangrape and murder, is likely to be in the list of this year’s Padma Awardees.
Rationalist and author Narendra Achyut Dabholkar, who was shot dead in Pune in August 2013, could be the other personality to be conferred the honour posthumously.
The home ministry has drawn up a shortlist of 133 “probables” for the awards which, after security clearance, is sent to the Prime Minister’s Office for approval and, finally, to Rashtrapati Bhawan.
The list includes personalities from the legal fraternity, the bureaucracy, the film industry, sport, medicine and civil society. The names were shortlisted by a committee headed by the home secretary from recommendations sent by state governments and prominent personalities.
The awards, India’s highest civilian honours, are given in three categories — Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri — and announced on the occasion of Republic Day every year.
Besides Justice Verma and Dabholkar, the shortlist includes Keki N Daruwalla, ex-IPS officer, Sahitya Akademi Award-winning poet and currently a member of the National Commission for Minorities, and V N Kaul, former CAG.
The youngest person on the shortlist is 22-year-old Dipika Pallikal, the first Indian woman to enter the top 10 in the WSA rankings, the official women’s squash world rankings. Dipika is currently number 12 in the rankings.
Other sports personalities in the shortlist are cricketer Yuvraj Singh and tennis ace Leander Paes, who received the Padma Shri in 2001, sources said.
Among the actors likely to be honoured are Mithun Chakraborty, Paresh Rawal, Kamal Hassan (who is already a Padma Shri), Vidya Balan, and the veteran star of Bengali films, Supriya Devi.
Playback singer Alka Yagnik is in the shortlist, along with Parveen Sultana, the Hindustani classical singer of the Patiala gharana who was awarded the Padma Shri in 1976.
Two professors of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences are in the shortlist: Dr Lalit Kumar of the Department of Medical Oncology, and Dr Balram Bhargava of the Department of Cardiology.
Others shortlisted for the Awards include former Indian Revenue Service officer Parveen Talha, the first Muslim woman to enter any Class-I civil service and the first Muslim woman member of the UPSC; and writer Anita Desai.
Sources said Ashish Khetan will be the vice-chairman of the commission.