It seems the controversy over PM Narendra Modi's degree is not going to end very soon. A Delhi based RTI applicant Mr Neeraj Sharma had appealed to CIC when his query on PM Modi's degree was not entertained by the DU officials. The responses sought by the applicant were on the below queries:
a. Total number of students appeared in Bachelor of Arts, Year 1978.
b. Total number of students failed in Bachelor of Arts, Year 1978.
c. Total number of students passed in Bachelor of Arts, Year 1978.
d. Please provide result of all students appeared in Bachelor of Arts, Year 1978. With Roll number, name of the students with Father name, marks and result pass or failed.
The authorities failed to provide the information and said that the given queries do not fall under the RTI ambit. It was also stated that the information sought was not public in nature and could only be given to the concerned student upon his request.
CIC while hearing the case wrote that, "It is relevant to refer to the judgment of Supreme Court Bench of Justice A R Dave and Justice L Nageswara Rao in Civil Appeal No. 2649 of 2016; in Mairembam Prithviraj v. Pukhrem Sharat Chandra Singh, quashing the election of Manipur Congress MLA, Mairembam Prithviraj for falsely declaring in his nomination papers that he had an MBA degree. The Supreme Court held that right to vote would be meaningless unless citizens were well informed about the antecedents of candidates, including their educational qualification. It said all information about a candidate contesting elections must be available in public domain as exposure to public scrutiny was one of the surest means to cleanse the democratic governing system and have competent legislators. The apex court has held that every voter has a fundamental right to know the educational qualifications of a candidate. The bench dismissed the appeals filed by Mairembam Prithviraj Singh and Pukhrem Sharatchandra Singh. Both of them contested the Manipur Legislative Assembly elections from the Moirang constituency. While Mairembam who contested on a Nationalist Congress Party ticket won, his election was declared void by the High Court of Manipur."
Actual decision is 13 page long, here some important screenshots have been attached.
The CIC final decision on the applicant's appeal came on 21/12/2016. It directed the DU authority to provide all the required information to the applicant by 30-12-2016 and also asserted that "Having examined the case, the synonymous legislations and previous decisions, the Commission states that matters relating to education of a student (current/former) fall under the public domain and hence order the relevant public authority to disclose information accordingly". It further asked the authority- "In view of above observations, the Commission directs the respondent authority, Delhi University to facilitate inspection of relevant register where complete information about result of all students who passed in Bachelor of Arts, in year 1978 along with roll number, names of the students, father’s name and marks obtained as available with the University and provide certified copy of the extract of relevant pages from the register, free of cost, before 30.12.2016. "
"However, the DU authority has again failed to comply the CIC order with respect to above deadline and I will again file an appeal" - Mr Neeraj told The Political Funda.