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Details of Modi’s degree not needed: Gujarat HC

Fines Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal
TBP Online
31 Mar 2023 20:07:16 | Update: 31 Mar 2023 20:08:40
Details of Modi’s degree not needed: Gujarat HC
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi — AFP File Photo

An order directing the Gujarat University to reveal details of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's degree was set aside on Friday by the state High Court, which said the information is not needed.

The Gujarat HC also fined Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Rs 25,000 for asking for these details, reports NDTV.

Kejriwal has to deposit the money with the Gujarat State Legal Services Authority within four weeks.

Reacting to the order and the fine, Kejriwal tweeted: "Does the country not have the right to know how educated their Prime Minister is? They vehemently opposed revealing his degree in court. Why? And the person asking to see the degree will be fined? What is happening? An uneducated or less educated PM is dangerous for the country."

In 2016, responding to a Right to Information (RTI) request, the Central Information Commission directed the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), the Gujarat University and Delhi University to furnish information on Modi's graduation and post-graduation degrees.

The Gujarat University challenged the order before the HC.

Modi's election documents say he graduated from Gujarat University in 1978 and completed his Master's degree from Delhi University in 1983.

Last month, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta argued during hearings that the university should not be compelled to disclose this information.

"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," the top government lawyer had said, insisting that the information on the PM's degrees had no bearing on his role.

"We cannot be asked to furnish the information to satisfy someone's childish and irresponsible curiosity," Mehta said.

The Solicitor General also said information requested under RTI should be related to public activity. "They cannot ask what breakfast I had. But yes, they can ask what amount was spent for the breakfast," he remarked.

Kejriwal's lawyer pointed out that election nomination forms listed educational qualifications. "We are asking for a degree certificate, not his marksheet," said Percy Kavina.

The court order comes in the middle of an aggressive campaign by Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) highlighting the PM's educational qualifications. The party has put up posters in many cities targeting PM Modi.