Govt Says Saif Ali Khan Will Not Be Stripped of Padma Title

Popular Bollywood actor Saif Ali Khan has landed in news for all the wrong reasons. Recently media reports suggested that the actor may be stripped of his ‘Padma’ honor. The root of the trouble lies in a 2012 incident when the actor and his two friends, Shakeel Ladak and Bilal Amrohi were booked for physically assaulting an NRI businessman and his father-in-law at the famous Taj Hotel in Mumbai.

Saif Ali Khan was given the ‘Padma Shri’ in 2010 for his contribution in the field of art.  This year in February, a Mumbai court had framed charges against him. In March, RTI activist S C Agarwal filed a complaint against him to the Home Ministry and asked to revoke the honor. The complaint mentioned that the actor has several complaints registered against him. Also who recommended his name for the award was not mentioned by the ‘Awards Committee’.

But the ‘Padma Shri’ award winner Saif may take a breath of relief as the Central Home Ministry has stated that it has no plans to strip the actor of his award. A senior official of the ministry said, "The home ministry's reply to the RTI filed by S C Agarwal to know the status of his own complaint, stating that the matter is under examination, is a routine response to any query that relates to a pending complaint. The home ministry has to call for necessary records from the state government or the courts to validate the charges made in the complaint ... this takes time and the merits of the complaint are finally decided on the basis of these records. Until then, technically, the matter is said to be under examination." 

As per the rules of the award, the President of India "may cancel or annul the award of the decoration to any person". The official further added, “As for the cases filed against a person after he receives the award, we cannot go by a mere charge sheet or even conviction by a court lower than the Supreme Court…it may not be fair to strip a person with outstanding achievement in a field just because he is convicted in a case relating to a minor scuffle."

The Taj Hotel incident led to the actor’s detention and interrogation at that time. The NRI businessman Iqbal Sharma alleged that he protested the actor and his friends’ loud behavior and then the actor and his friends assaulted him and his father-in-law was also hurt in the scuffle. In turn, Saif had alleged that the person misbehaved with the girls in his group.