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Arvind Kejriwal to Challenge Gujarat High Court's Judgement in Narendra Modi Degree Case

Newsclick Report |
The order held that the Right to Information Act (RTI) does not include any mandate for the disclosure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's education certificates.

Image credit: PTI

Delhi's chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal, has decided to challenge the Gujarat High Court's order, which held that the Right to Information Act (RTI) does not include any mandate for the disclosure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's education certificates. 

The challenge to the single-judge order of the High Court has been posted for appeal for hearing on January 11 in the division bench comprising Chief Justice Sunita Agarwal and Justice Aniruddha Mayee. 

Senior Advocate Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi will appear on behalf of Kejriwal. 

In his order on March 31, single-judge Justice Biren Vaishnav ruled that "Gujarat University need not furnish details pertaining to PM Modi's academic degree." Justice Vaishnav overturned an earlier order by a Chief Information Commissioner and, while doing so, imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 on Kerjwail for misusing the RTI Act. 

In his challenge of the order, Kejriwal contends that no costs should be imposed on him as he had not filed "any application seeking details but had only written a letter" to the CIC. Furthermore, Kejriwal argues that if voters are not informed about the antecedents and educational qualifications of their candidates, the Right to Vote would become futile. 

"It is said that all the information about candidates contesting elections must be made available in the public domain as exposure to public scrutiny was one of the surest means to glance the democratic governing system and have competent legislators. Every citizen has a fundamental right to know the educational qualification of a candidate," the appeal states

Furthermore, Kejriwal claims that the Gujarat University's submission before the court included contradictions. For instance, as per Kejriwal, despite the university's claim that the degree is available in the public domain, no such record is there on the university's website. 

The appeal also challenges Justice Vaishnav's argument that the information sought is "personal" and could not be disclosed under the RTI Act.

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