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The Delhi High Court today stayed the Central Information Commission’s order directing the inspection of records of all students who had cleared the Bachelor of Arts course from Delhi University in 1978, the year in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is said to have graduated.
Self-professed Aam Aadmi Party supporter, Neeraj Sharma had filed an RTI with Delhi University seeking details of PM Modi’s degree.
Modi had sworn in his election affidavit that he graduated from DU in the B.A. Political Science course in the year 1978. The University had denied disclosure of the information stating that it was “private” and had “nothing to do with public interest”.
In December last year, Sharma had moved the CIC against the University’s response. In an order dated December 21, Information Commissioner Prof Madhubhushanam Acharyulu passed an order directing Delhi University to make public the register containing the list of students who passed the Bachelor of Arts programme in 1978.
The order states,
“The educational qualification of an individual is conferred to that individual in convocation, meaning thereby that such a qualification is publicly celebrated and there is nothing which affects the privacy of an individual by such disclosure.”
It went on to quote a decision of the CIC dated July 21 of last year, wherein it was held,
“…when there is an apprehension or doubt about validity or existence of a qualification, it is necessary to verify the genuineness of the same…”
Today in the Delhi High Court, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appeared on behalf of the University through CGSC Arun Bharadwaj, challenging the CIC order.
Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva issued notice to Neeraj Sharma and stayed the order, noting Mehta’s arguments that the order has far-reaching adverse consequences for the petitioner and all universities in the country hold degrees of crores of students in a fiduciary capacity.
Sharma is required to respond to the challenge, which claims that the CIC order is “arbitrary” and “untenable in law” by April 27, which is when the matter will be heard next.
The issue stems out of the row created by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal last year, asking the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “come clean about his educational degrees” and “make them public”.
Read the complete order below.
Read the CIC order below.
Image taken from here.