The Supreme Court recently sought a response from the State of Uttar Pradesh in the case of an 83-year-old retired police officer seeking action on his recommendation for the Gallantry Award. The Bench, comprising Justices Dipankar Datta, KV Viswanathan, and Sandeep Mehta, was hearing the petitioner, Ram Autar’s challenge to an Allahabad High Court order, which had dismissed his plea on the grounds of delay.

Ram Autar had been recommended for the Gallantry Award by the Superintendent of Police, Banda, on August 3, 1989. However, he approached the High Court in 2023, seeking a writ of mandamus to compel action on the recommendation, stating that he had made repeated representations to the authorities.

Upon review, the High Court found no “genuine reason” for the delay and cited established legal precedent emphasizing the importance of vigilance in asserting one’s rights. Despite acknowledging Autar’s age, the High Court questioned the utility of a police medal for him at this stage in his life.

However, recognizing Autar’s act of bravery in saving the public from a dacoit and the fact that he had been recommended for the Gallantry Award, the Supreme Court issued notice and appointed Senior Advocate Rana Mukherjee as Amicus Curiae to assist in the matter.

This decision by the Supreme Court reflects its commitment to ensuring justice and fairness, particularly in cases involving recognition for acts of valor and service to the public. It underscores the importance of considering individual circumstances and merits, even in matters that may appear belated, while upholding principles of equity and constitutional rights.

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