Delhi court dismisses qualification complaint against Smriti Irani: ‘Filed to harass her’

The court observed that the complainant, would not have been “bothered” if Irani was not a minister in the central government.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: October 19, 2016 1:47:45 am
Smriti Irani, Irani, Smriti Irani qualification, Smriti Irani degree, Smriti Irani qualification case, Smriti Irani degree row, India news Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani at the Make in India Summit, Tuesday. (Express Photo by Praveen Khanna

A Delhi court Tuesday dismissed a complaint against Union Textile Minister Smriti Irani which had accused her of furnishing false information about her educational qualifications in election affidavits. While dismissing the complaint, Metropolitan Magistrate Harvinder Singh said the complaint had been filed only to “needlessly harass” the minister.

The court observed that the complainant, Ahmer Khan, would not have been “bothered” if Irani was not a minister in the central government. There had been a delay in filing the complaint and the complainant had failed to give original documents supporting his claim, said the court.

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“So, where the original evidence has already been lost due to the passage of a number of years, the secondary evidence available will probably not be able to withstand the test of judicial scrutiny. There is a great delay of around 11 years in filing the complaint. The delay cannot be condoned as the complainant is not an aggrieved person,” said the court.

The Metropolitan Magistrate further observed that the case could be “foreseen” as an “inevitable failure” as the original evidence had been lost due to “great delay”. Terming it “inconsequential”, the court said it needs to be relieved of the burden of such a case.

The complainant had alleged that Irani furnished “false information” about her educational qualifications in three affidavits filed before the Election Commission during elections for Lok Sabha as well as the Rajya Sabha. He claimed that prima facie, Irani was liable to be prosecuted for the offence under Section 125 A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

According to Khan’s complaint, Irani, in her affidavit for the April 2004 Lok Sabha election, had said that she completed her BA in 1996 from Delhi University (school of correspondence).

Khan claimed that in another affidavit, filed when Irani contested the Rajya Sabha election from Gujarat, she said she had completed BCom Part-I from the School of Correspondence, Delhi University. He also claimed that in Irani’s affidavit for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Amethi, she said she had completed Bachelor of Commerce Part-I from the School of Open Learning, Delhi University.

The Election Commission had earlier told the court that the documents filed by Irani about her educational qualifications were not traceable. The Delhi University had also said that the minister’s documents, pertaining to the BA course in 1996 that she mentioned in the 2004 affidavit, were not traceable.

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