Gujarat HC quashes CIC's order to furnish details of bachelors degree of PM Modi; Kejriwal fined ₹25,000

Gujarat HC quashes CIC's order to furnish details of bachelors degree of PM Modi; Kejriwal fined ₹25,000

The order sparked off a war of words between the Aam Aadmi Party and the BJP, while the opposition party has launched a country-wide poster campaign against Modi stating, “Modi hatao, Desh Bachao.”

FPJ BureauUpdated: Saturday, April 01, 2023, 07:54 AM IST
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The Gujarat High Court on Friday ruled that the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) need not furnish PM Narendra Modi's undergraduate and post-graduate degree certificate as sought by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal through a RTI application.

The order sparked off a war of words between the Aam Aadmi Party and the BJP, while the opposition party has launched a country-wide poster campaign against Modi stating, “Modi hatao, Desh Bachao.”

The High court set aside an order by the Chief Information Commission (CIC) asking the PMO, the Gujarat University and the Delhi University to file details of Modi's graduate and post-graduate degrees.

Kejriwal fined ₹25,000

The court also imposed a fine of ₹25,000 on Arvind Kejriwal. PM Modi had stated that he had completed his graduation from Gujarat University in 1978 and post-graduation from Delhi University in 1983.

“In a democracy, there won't be a difference if a person holding the office is a doctorate or an illiterate. Also, there is no public interest involved in this issue. Even his privacy is affected," Solicitor General Tushar Mehta argued on behalf of the Gujarat University.

He went on, “We cannot be asked to furnish the information to satisfy someone's childish and irresponsible curiosity. Also, it should be noted that the information sought has nothing to do with his (Narendra Modi's) role as a public figure.”

Senior advocate Percy Kavina, who appeared for the AAP chief, asserted, “If you see the nomination form (filed by Modi during elections), it mentions his educational qualifications. Thus, we are asking for a degree certificate and not his marksheet.”

Kejriwal reacts to court's order

Reacting to the order, Kejriwal asked, “Doesn’t the country have the right to know the academic qualifications of the prime minister.”

Justice Biren Vaishnav allowed the Gujarat University’s appeal against the seven-year-old order of the CIC and imposing a cost of Rs 25,000 on Kejriwal, directed him to deposit the amount within four weeks to the Gujarat State Legal Services Authority (GSLSA).

The Delhi Chief Minister tweeted in Hindi, “Doesn't the country even have the right to know how much the PM has studied? He vehemently opposed showing the degree in the court. Why? And those who demand to see the degree will be fined? What's happening?" Illiterate or less educated PM is very dangerous for the country."

BJP criticised Kejriwal

On the other hand, the BJP accused Kejriwal of "peddling lies" against the Prime Minister.

Head of BJP's I-T department Amit Malviya said, "Gujarat High Court slams Arvind Kejriwal, imposes a fine of Rs 25,000 on him for filing frivolous petitions, asking about Prime Minister's degree."

BJP spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla tweeted, "lying & making obnoxious remarks, peddling lies against the chair of the PM has become a fashion & Kejriwal is in strong competition with Rahul Gandhi in this regard. But today he has been shown his place by High Court!"

Poonawalla said, "Hope Kejriwal ji doesn't make scurrilous comments on judiciary like Rahul now! That would count as being 'literate and yet uneducated'." Another BJP spokesperson Tom Vadakkan said, "nemesis is fast catching up".

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