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Gujarat High Court Quashes CIC Order Directing Gujarat University To Provide PM Modi’s Degree Copy; CM Kejriwal Fined Rs 25,000

Image Source: DNA India

Today, the Gujarat High Court nullified and rejected the Central Information Commission’s order forcing the Gujarat University to provide Arvind Kejriwal, the chief minister of Delhi, with “information regarding degrees in the name of Mr. Narendra Damodar Modi.

As a result, Judge Biren Vaishnav’s bench accepted the appeal filed by Gujarat University, challenging the CIC’s order because it was issued without serving it with notice. It should be mentioned that the judgement in the case was reserved on February 9 after extensive hearings from the involved parties.


Gujarat High Court
Image Source: Times Of India

Arvind Kejriwal, the chief minister of Delhi, was also ordered by the bench to pay a penalty of Rs. 25,000, which must be deposited with the Gujarat State Legal Services Authority within four weeks. Moreover, the Court declined to order a stay of the judgement.

What was the case about?

Dr Sridhar Acharyulu (the then Central Information Commissioner) was involved with the Gujarat University in this matter, “suo motu decided the controversy regarding the qualification of the Prime Minister without any pending proceedings.” The Commission made the suo above moto decision while debating a request about Kejriwal’s electoral photo ID card.


Dr Sridhar Acharyulu
Image Source: LinkedIn

In essence, Kejriwal wrote to the Commission while the application was pending and criticised it for not being transparent. He continued by saying that he is prepared to offer the necessary facts but that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should likewise be asked to provide the specifics of his educational background to dispel any doubts about the PM’s credentials.


CM Kejriwal with CM Mann

Thus, the IC instructed the PIO to the Prime Minister’s Office to submit a “specific number and year” of Modi’s BA and MA degrees from Delhi University and Gujarat University, respectively, treating Kejriwal’s response as an “application under RTI in his capacity as a citizen.”

Kejriwal was also instructed to obtain a degree from the University. Gujarat University filed a High Court petition in opposition to this exact order.

What did Gujarat University argue?

According to Section 8(1)(e) of the Right to Information Act, information held in a fiduciary capacity cannot be disclosed “unless the competent authority is satisfied that the larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information,” which was the central tenet of the University’s defence. The University held the information (PM’s degree) in that capacity.


Gujarat University
Image Source: DNA India

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