THE CENTRAL Information Commission has ruled that Delhi University will have to provide a copy of the records of all students who completed their BA degree in 1978 — the year when the university said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had cleared the examination.
Last year, the university had denied these records to an RTI applicant, saying that it was the “personal information of the students concerned, the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest”.
The Commission, however, said that matters relating to the education of a student — current or former — fall under the category of public interest.
In another ruling on a related case, the CIC fined the university’s Public Information Officer Rs 25,000 for denying information under RTI on the Prime Minister’s degree on the grounds that the mandatory postal order of Rs 10 was not addressed to the correct authority.
The authenticity of Prime Minister Modi’s BA degree was questioned by Aam Aadmi Party leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal last May. He had claimed that Modi’s degrees were fake. Defending Modi, his party, the BJP, had produced copies of what they said were the Prime Minister’s degrees.
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BJP leaders had stated last year that Modi had completed his BA in political science from the distance learning programme of the university in 1978. This was later corroborated by the Delhi University registrar, Tarun Das.
The CIC’s order, passed on December 21, said, “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.”
While a copy of the order has been posted on CIC website, the RTI applicant, Neeraj Sharma, said he was yet to receive the records from the university. “I will write to them or go there and inspect the records if that is needed,” said Sharma.
Disposing of the other complaint, the CIC fined Delhi University’s PIO Meenakshi Sahay for refusing to provide the details of the Prime Minister’s degree to another applicant.
Sahay had said that the applicant had not marked the Indian Postal Order (IPO) to the correct authority. The CIC said that the fee was not a material factor in rejecting the RTI request and that non-payment of fee is not a prescribed ground for rejection.
When contacted, DU Vice Chancellor Yogesh Tyagi said he did not have any information regarding the CIC orders, and that he would have to “find out” if there was any.
“I remember the previous controversy regarding the degree but not a recent development. The PIO, Meenakshi Sahay, is a better person to ask,” Tyagi told The Indian Express. Sahay could not be reached despite repeated attempts by this newspaper.