PM Modi's degrees: Gujarat HC decides against disclosure; imposes fine on Kejriwal
Ahmedabad, March 31: The Gujarat High Court on Friday ruled that the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) need not furnish the degree and post-graduate certificates of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
This verdict came after Justice Biren Vaishnav set aside the order of the Chief Information Commission (CIC) that directed the public information officer (PIO) of PMO and the PIOs of Gujarat University and Delhi University to provide details of PM Modi's graduation and post-graduation degrees.
The court also imposed costs of Rs 25,000 on Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who had sought details of PM Modi's degree certificate.
The court was hearing an appeal filed by Gujarat University challenging the order of CIC.
PM Modi has stated that he completed his graduation from Gujarat University in 1978 and post-graduation from Delhi University in 1983.
During a hearing held last month, Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the University, argued that the varsity could not be compelled to disclose the information.
He emphasised that the information sought has nothing to do with the PM's role as a public figure, and there is no public interest involved in this issue.
Mehta added that the information sought must be related to public activity, as per the provisions of the RTI Act.
Earlier, senior advocate Percy Kavina, who appeared for Aam Aadmi Party convenor Kejriwal, countered the Solicitor General's submissions.
Kavina said that the degree was not available on the internet as argued by the Solicitor General, and sought a copy of the degree.
In February 2023, Kavina (for the respondent) argued that disclosure of the educational qualifications of an election candidate is mandated by law, and questioned the Gujarat University's move to challenge the CIC order despite the PIO of PMO not challenging it.
In 2016, when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) released copies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's BA and MA degrees, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) alleged that the documents were fake.
Former AAP leader Ashutosh pointed out discrepancies in the documents, alleging that the PM's name in the BA degree is different from that in his MA degree.
In response to the allegations, senior BJP leaders Amit Shah and the late Arun Jaitley released copies of PM Modi's degrees and criticized Arvind Kejriwal.
Jaitley even stated that the Prime Minister "struggled" and did hard work during his student life to get the degrees.