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HomegujaratPM Modi degree: Gujarat HC rejects Delhi CM Kejriwal's review petition

PM Modi degree: Gujarat HC rejects Delhi CM Kejriwal's review petition

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat high court Thursday dismissed the petition of Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal seeking review of the high court’s judgement which set aside the direction of chief information commission (CIC) to provide him certificates of Prime Minister Narendra Modi academic degrees and imposed a fine Rs25,000 on him for seeking the degrees persistently.

The bench of justice Biren Vaishnav dismissed the review application of Kejriwal. The copy of the order is awaited.

“This court is of the opinion that once a finding is recorded by the competent court after hearing a particular litigant, the litigant can only take his legal remedy and recourse to law as may be available in law. The court is conscious that seeking a review is and could be a remedy available in law but looking to the grounds and the arguments raised before this court in the review application, it cannot be said that the applicant has sought to invoke this remedy purely with a view to seeking legal recourse,” justice Vaishnav stated in his order.

The court refused to review its order imposing fine of Rs 25,000 while stating that Kejriwal “politicised” and “abused” the process of the RTI machinery. “Costs, therefore, are justified,” the order stated. The court said that “mechanism of the Right To Information Act was used as a tool to solicit information which otherwise was exempted in law.”

The Delhi CM had moved the court seeking stay of the execution of the judgement passed on March 31. In this judgement, justice Vaishnav while quashing CIC direction had held that “in absence of any larger public interest” the educational degrees of PM Modi were exempted from disclosure under RTI act.

The court also imposed a cost of Rs25,000 on Kejriwal for seeking such information through RTI “persistently.” The order mentioned based on oral submission of GU that the degree was publicly accessible on its website. In the review application, the AAP leader said that he had never “persisted” for PM’s degree as he didn’t file any RTI application for the degree.

Kejriwal stated that he never requested the CIC, which suo motu took up the matter and ordered Gujarat University to provide Modi’s degrees to the Delhi CM and therefore the cost imposed on him was “an error apparent on the record.” In the review plea, Kejriwal also contended that Gujarat University claimed that the degree of PM Modi is displayed on its website but despite efforts he couldn’t find them on the varsity’s website.

In 2016, state-run Gujarat University (GU) had moved the high court against direction issued by CIC, New Delhi directing it to provide information to Delhi CM Kejriwal on the post graduation degree of PM Modi. The then CIC commissioner M Sridhar Acharyulu had issued the direction to the Prime Minister Office to provide information on Modi’s graduation and post graduation degrees to GU as well as Delhi University (DU) to help them in searching those documents.

(Published 09 November 2023, 09:53 IST)

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