The Gujarat High Court on Monday issued notices to Central Information Commission (CIC) and Arvind Kejriwal on a petition filed by the Gujarat University against the CIC’s earlier order asking the varsity to provide information on degrees of by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the Delhi Chief Minister.
After admitting the application of Gujarat University (GU), seeking to quash the CIC order on technical grounds, judge S H Vora issued noticed to Information Commissioner M Sridhar Acharyulu and Kejriwal to furnish their responses and kept further hearing next month.
In its application before the court, the GU stated that “the Gujarat University is not a party to any of the proceeding before the Information Commission. Hence, the order is adverse to the interest of the Gujarat University.”
The University further argued that the jurisdiction of CIC extends to the public authority under that central government while GU falls beyond its jurisdiction.
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“Therefore, the said order of CIC is patently erroneous and requires to be quashed and set aside,” stated the application.
GU further argued that Kejriwal’s status as the Chief Minister has been kept in mind by the CIC while issuing the order, a move which is against the law, said the application.
“CIC has passed a direction on the basis of the status of Kejriwal. The CIC has considered the CM on a different pedestal which is against the principle of rule of law.”
The GU authorities claimed that “no notice of hearing has been served upon the GU, and the order is passed by CIC without hearing the GU. There is no application given by Kejriwal before the information officer of GU, nor is there any complaint made against the GU before the Information Commission, Gujarat.
Citing the Right to Information (RTI) Act provisions, GU argued that Kejriwal has not sought any information directly from the university.
“Kejriwal has not sought any information from the GU at any time till date and no application has been preferred under section 6(1) of the RTI Act”.
Further, it is argued that the “CIC is not the authority constituted under the RTI Act for the purpose of any information to be supplied by the GU.”
Earlier on April 29, CIC directed Delhi University and Gujarat University to provide information on degrees earned by Modi to Kejriwal, who had criticised the functioning of the transparency panel.
The CIC’s order came a day after Kejriwal wrote a letter to Acharyulu saying he does not object to 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.