RTI plea: DU declines to give details of PM Modi’s degree

Kejriwal said the move has further deepened the “mystery” surrounding the degree.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: June 20, 2016 1:52 am
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Kejriwal had sent his aides to DU last month to inspect the degrees but they were turned away by the university.

After Delhi University (DU) refused to divulge details of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s graduation degree in response to yet another RTI application, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal took on BJP leaders Amit Shah and Arun Jaitley who had come out in defense of the PM.

Kejriwal said the move has further deepened the “mystery” surrounding the degree. “What? But why? Didn’t Amit shah n Jaitleyji say that degree was genuine and anyone cud take it from DU?” Kejriwal tweeted.

“Does degree really exist? Did Jaitley n Shah present forged papers?” he said in another tweet.

In response to an RTI filed by city-based lawyer Mohd Irsad, DU stated, “The information pertaining to the student of SOL (School of Open Learning) DU is treated as personal information… the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest… If the applicant is not satisfied with the reply, he can appeal to the SOL appellate authority… within 30 days from the issue of the reply letter.”

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In the RTI, Irsad had sought replies to several queries: “Did the student ever apply for duplicate copy of his marksheet or degree? If yes, I wish to inspect the application with its annexures, degree entry register of Exam IV branch which contains the entry of the student with his enrollment number, degree entry register of SOL which contains entry of the student with this enrol no, register which contains signature of receipt of degree of the student with this enrol number, signature of the student of receipt of degree at convocation.”

Reacting to the development, AAP Delhi convenor Dilip Pandey said, “The mystery around the degree has only deepened. If DU thinks it is a matter of privacy… then it should take permission from the PM and release the information. Just a few weeks ago, Jaitley and Shah held a press conference to show copies of the degree. Does this mean they were forged?”

Former Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah Sunday said, “I believe DU has taken the plea that it is private information. This will not fall under category of privacy under Sec 8 (1). Degree awarded by university is public and, therefore, cannot be kept as private information. The Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) was expected to write to a third party if it had any objection to disclosing the information. On both counts, CPIO and DU have erred, but it can be rectified.”

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Kejriwal had sent his aides to DU last month to inspect the degrees but they were turned away by the university. Following allegations from AAP that PM Modi had “forged” his graduation degree, Shah and Jaitley released copies of his BA and MA degrees. AAP, however, insisted they were “forged”.

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