Gujarat HC Rejects Kejriwal’s Review Plea Against Order Setting Aside CIC Directive To Give Information About PM Modi’s Degree

The Gujarat High Court on Thursday rejected Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s petition seeking review of its earlier order setting aside the Central Information Commission’s (CIC) directive to Gujarat University to provide information about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s educational degree.

Justice Biren Vaishnav on Thursday rejected the Aam Aadmi Party leader’s review plea filed in June. The high court had kept the judgement reserved after both the sides made final submissions in September.

In March, Justice Vaishnav had set aside the Central Information Commission’s directive to Gujarat University to provide information to Kejriwal on prime minister Modi’s Master of Arts (MA) degree, allowing the varsity’s appeal against the CIC order.

The judge had also imposed a cost of Rs 25,000 on the Delhi chief minister.

One of the key contentions in Kejriwal review plea was that contrary to Gujarat University’s claim that Modi’s degree was available online, no information was available on the university’s website.

During the previous hearing, senior lawyer Percy Kavina, appearing for Kejriwal, had asked Justice Vaishnav to reconsider his judgement claiming that Gujarat University never uploaded Modi’s degree on its website as submitted before the court.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Gujarat University, contended that Kejriwal’s review plea was aimed at “keeping the controversy alive for no reason”.

The varsity is exempted from sharing a degree of a student under the Right To Information Act unless it is in the public interest, but the GU management did upload the degree on its website in June 2016 and inform the petitioner about it, he said.

In April 2016, then chief information commissioner Acharyulu had directed Delhi University and Gujarat University to provide information to Kejriwal on Modi’s degrees.

The CIC order had come a day after Kejriwal wrote to Acharyulu saying he had no objection if government records about himself (Kejriwal) were made public.

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Kejriwal, in the letter, had also wondered why the commission wanted to “hide” information on Modi’s educational qualifications.

But Gujarat University objected to the CIC’s order, saying that “irresponsible childish curiosity” of someone cannot become public interest under the RTI Act.

Mehta had told the HC that there was nothing to hide because information about the PM’s degrees was “already in the public domain” and the university had placed the information on its website on a particular date.

But Kejriwal’s review plea said no degree was available on the varsity’s website. Instead, a document described as “Office Register (OR)” was displayed which was different from a degree, it claimed.

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