30 Sep 2023 8:28 AM GMT
The Gujarat High Court on Friday reserved its judgment on a review plea filed by the Chief Minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal seeking a review of HC's March 31st order setting aside the 2016 order of the Central Information Commission (CIC). Essentially, the CIC had directed the Gujarat University to disclose and provide details on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's academic degree to the...
The Gujarat High Court on Friday reserved its judgment on a review plea filed by the Chief Minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal seeking a review of HC's March 31st order setting aside the 2016 order of the Central Information Commission (CIC).
Essentially, the CIC had directed the Gujarat University to disclose and provide details on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's academic degree to the AAP national convener on his RTI application.
In its order, the High Court’s Bench of Justice Biren Vaishnav had also imposed a cost of ₹25,000 on Delhi CM for making a mockery of the very intent and purpose of the RTI Act. Pursuant to this, Kejriwal filed a review plea before the Court.
Appearing for Kejriwal, Senior Advocate Percy Kavina argued before Justice Vaishnav that the conduct of his client was not such as to attract the remarks of the Court as made in the order under review. He contended that the observations made by the Court were unwarranted as now he is facing a defamation case before an Ahmedabad court.
“A word which falls from a superior court…there is a theory, here a butterfly flaps its wings, and there a tsunami occurs…the smallest words uttered most innocuously (court’s judgment) have had a tremendous domino effect which we are facing (referring to the defamation case) …these observations (in the judgment) are unwarranted,” he submitted.
Regarding the imposition of cost in the order, he further submitted that the cost aspect was never put to Kejriwal at the time of the conclusion of the hearing and given the nature of proceedings, “the court may find that the applicant’s conduct was not such that it fomented or prolonged the litigation.”
In this regard, it was also argued that Kejriwal always sought an expeditious disposal of the proceedings and was never interested in prolonging the litigation.
It was further contended by him the document which was available on the GU’s website was not (PM Modi’s) degree but an office record of certain marks from BA (part II) exams and that this case is about his MA degree, not BA Degree.
Stressing that a degree is not a mark sheet, he argued that the contention of the GU that the degree in question is already available on the internet was incorrect.
On the other hand, appearing for the Gujarat University, Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta argued that Kejriwal’s review plea was just an attempt to keep the pot boiling and keep the controversy alive for no reason.
He further said that cost was required to be imposed upon Delhi CM even for filing the instant review petition as the appropriate remedy was filing an appeal and not a review plea.
He also contended that the GU was not obliged to provide personal details/information of a student to any third person unless the authorities gave a finding that revealing the information in question involved some public interest.
In response to SG Mehta’s submission that cost be imposed on Kejriwal for filing a view plea, Senior Counsel Kavina retorted by submitting that SG Mehta’s insistent was consistent with the attitude of quashing every legal form of dissent.