Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Isn't it a scam when members of an award jury are among the awardees?

A couple of weeks ago, Sujai Karampuri had a rant about the pathological side of awards doled out by Indian industry, colleges and universities. In his list of pathologies, one thing is curiously missing: judges giving awards to themselves!

A recent example is the 'prestigious' Economic Times Awards for Corporate Excellence; this year, two of the jury members were also among the eventual award winners! These two eminent worthies are: N.R. Narayana Murthy (winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award, and co-chair of the jury) and Aviation Minister Praful Patel (winner of the Business Reformer Award).

The accompanying reports try very hard to paper over this bad practice (which, I believe, is not the first for ET, and may not even be unique to it) by pointing out that the jury members who were also nominees recused themselves when their award categories were being discussed. Nothing -- absolutely nothing -- can hide the fact that this practice is ugly. I don't know if the judges knew before they agreed to be on the jury that they were among the nominees; if they did, I would say it is even more ugly.

Also, what does it say about the 'prestigious' ET awards sponsor when it's unable to put together an untainted jury?


  1. Anonymous said...

    I don't think it is that ugly as it is being made out to be. But yes, if the judges are changed every year and if the nominations precede selection of judges then the award committee is responsible to make sure that none of the nominees is made the judge - if not for anything else then atleast to evoke confidence.

  2. Anonymous said...

    if such things happen frequently, then the award will lose its value and no one will take them seriously. Kind of what happened with our own literary awards (sahitya, jnanpeeth) [compare with the noise over the booker], our film awards or even our scientific awards. how many responses did you get for your post regarding the bhatnagar awards? (I counted exactly two, neither of which had anything useful to say about the awardees.)

    Moral: this is not something worth worrying about.