"I refuse the Padma award... I have been singing for the last 55 years. I consider the recognition of my fans in various languages as the highest award. These awards don't mean anything to me," she told reporters at Ottappalam near here.
"After so many years, they now give me Padma Bhushan. They should have given me the Bharat Ratna," she added.
Janaki, who has over 20,000 songs in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi to her credit, also had a grouse that artistes from south were generally neglected in these awards.
"I am not just saying this for myself. There are many talented people in south India. They have not been recognised for their work. They should be recognised," she said.
However, 75-year old, who ruled the south Indian cinema music scene in the 1980s and 1990s, said she had no problem against the government's decision to give her the honour.
"I have no complaint towards the government. I don't think the government has done anything wrong. But I have decided to refuse Padma award," Janaki, who was at Ottappalam to attend a marriage, said.
Janaki, who had won four national awards, was chosen in the art category among the 24 Padma Bhushan awardees in different fields announced on the eve of the Republic Day.
Her son Murali Krishna, talking to PTI over phone, said the honour to his mother came too late.
"It has come too late. She should have got it long long time ago. She has refused to accept the award with due respect," he said.
He also said they were not informed about the award being given to her and they learnt about it only through "some body else".