The Gujarat University, which has filed a petition in the high court seeking quashing of a Central Information Commission (CIC) order to provide information on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s degree, on Thursday insisted that a division bench should hear the matter. Arguing before a division bench of Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice V M Pancholi, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta requested that the bench – which had passed an order providing ad-interim relief to the university on July one – should hear the matter. This was, however, opposed by the lawyer representing Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who is one of the respondents in the case.
Kejriwal’s lawyer I A Syed said the single bench of Justice S H Vora where the petition was first heard, should continue to hear the case. He said the division bench has already granted ad-interim relief to the petitioner, and the matter should now continue to be heard by the court of Justice Vora so that in the event of the order going in favour of the Gujarat University, they would have the option of appealing before the division bench. The matter will again come up for hearing next Tuesday.
Earlier, the varsity’s petition for interim stay was not accepted by the court of Justice Vora, after which the university approached the division bench of the high court which granted the stay. Apart from Information Commissioner M Sridhar Acharyulu and the Centre are also respondents in the case.
The Gujarat University had challenged the April 29 CIC order directing it to provide a copy of the degree to Kejriwal under RTI, saying it was not heard in the matter and hence the principle of natural justice was violated. The CIC’s order came a day after Kejriwal wrote a letter to Acharyulu saying he does not object to the government records about him being made public and wondered why the Commission wants to “hide” information on Modi’s educational degree.
The Information Commissioner had treated Kejriwal’s letter as an RTI application and passed the order.