PM Modi’s Degree Case: Kejriwal Requests Reevaluation of Gujarat High Court’s Ruling, Stating Degree Unavailable on University Website.


Delhi CM Kejriwal Challenges Fine in PM Modi Degree Case Review Petition

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has taken a significant step in the ongoing case regarding Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s degrees. Kejriwal has filed a review petition in the Gujarat High Court, seeking a reconsideration of the court’s previous order. The court had set aside an order from the Central Information Commission (CIC), which had directed Gujarat University to search for information related to PM Modi’s degrees.

During a brief hearing, Justice Biren Vaishnav admitted Kejriwal’s review petition and scheduled the next hearing for June 30. Additionally, the High Court issued a rule to the respondents, including Gujarat University, the Central government, and former Chief Information Commissioner M Sridhar Acharyulu.

Kejriwal’s main contention in the review petition is that despite Gujarat University’s claim that PM Modi’s degree is available online, no such degree can be found on the university’s website. The petition argues that while the court had acknowledged the availability of the degree based on the oral submissions made by Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta, a thorough examination of the website revealed only a document referred to as the “Office Register (OR),” which is distinct from an actual degree.

Kejriwal highlights that Mehta’s oral submission was made for the first time during the hearing, without prior opportunity for verification. As a result, the petitioner argues that the OR document cannot be considered a degree as claimed by the university.

Furthermore, Kejriwal contests the Rs 25,000 fine imposed on him by the court for persisting with the matter of PM Modi’s degree. The review petition clarifies that the petitioner did not file any application for information but merely wrote a letter in April 2016 in response to a letter by the CIC. Kejriwal claims that he never requested the CIC to treat him as an applicant and that the CIC had initiated the proceedings suo motu. He seeks a review of the judgment and requests a stay on its implementation until final disposal.

In the previous ruling on March 31, Justice Vaishnav had quashed the CIC order, stating that the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) was not obligated to provide PM Modi’s degree and postgraduate degree certificates. In addition to overturning the CIC order, the High Court imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 on Delhi CM Kejriwal, who had sought details about the Prime Minister’s degree.

The background of the case dates back to April 2016 when the then CIC Acharyulu directed Delhi University and Gujarat University to disclose information about Modi’s degrees to Kejriwal. Kejriwal’s letter to Acharyulu, expressing no objection to the government records being made public, prompted the CIC’s decision. However, Gujarat University objected to the CIC order, arguing that the “irresponsible childish curiosity” of an individual does not qualify as public interest under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

During the hearings, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the university, asserted that the information about the PM’s degrees was already in the public domain. He claimed that the university had previously published the information on its website on a specific date.

In his review petition, Kejriwal refutes the university’s claim, stating that no such degree is available on the varsity’s website. Instead, the website displays a document referred to as the “Office Register (OR),” which is different from an actual degree. Kejriwal argues that the judgment suffers from an error on the face of the record and allowing it to stand would result in a miscarriage of justice.

Furthermore, Kejriwal points out that the university’s lawyer made an oral submission regarding the degree’s availability on the last day of the hearing, without providing any supporting documentation. This prevented immediate verification of the statement at that time.

The review petition filed by Kejriwal marks a crucial development in the PM Modi degree case, as it challenges the previous court order and seeks a reconsideration of the fine imposed on the Delhi CM. The case has garnered significant attention, and the upcoming hearing on June 30 will determine the course of further proceedings.

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