10 Nov 2023 7:36 AM GMT
The Gujarat High Court has observed that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's persistence in challenging Prime Minister Narendra Modi's qualifications despite an undisputable record produced by the Gujarat University is not in good taste.While dismissing Kejriwal's review petition against its order setting aside CIC's direction to disclose information on degrees held by the Prime...
The Gujarat High Court has observed that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's persistence in challenging Prime Minister Narendra Modi's qualifications despite an undisputable record produced by the Gujarat University is not in good taste.
While dismissing Kejriwal's review petition against its order setting aside CIC's direction to disclose information on degrees held by the Prime Minister, Justice Biren Vaishnav said,
“This court, without getting into the intentions of the applicant in filing the review application would tend of agree with the submission of Mr. Mehta, learned Solicitor General of India that though there is a contemporaneous record in the form of the Office Register undisputably showing the qualification of the Prime Minister, the review applicant having lost in his legal remedy as the petition was allowed, continues to harp upon his pursuit in following a cause by proceeding in this review application in a manner which does not reflect good taste in public life.”
Senior Advocate Percy Kavina, appearing on behalf of Kejriwal, contended that the court's March order, stating that the degree was displayed on the website, was factually inaccurate. He submitted that upon close examination, the website only exhibited a document titled "OR" (Office Register) and not the degree itself. Kavina argued that this misinformation had led to the court's assertion that Kejriwal should have resolved the controversy. He claimed that this situation constituted a clear error on the court record.
He also contended that the observations of the Court that the applicant “used an appeal against him to kickstart and trigger a controversy not falling within the purview of the RTI Act” and that the applicant had made an “absolutely casual application” are wrong as the applicant was not the initiator of any of the proceedings but was only a respondent. He further argued that no application was filed by him for any information. The proceedings were suo motu taken up by the CIC which clearly indicates that the applicant never persisted with the matter
Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta who appeared for Gujarat University argued that the grounds raised in the review application were clearly for extraneous reasons which would not justify exercising of review jurisdiction.
He argued that as per the provisions of Section 8(1)(j) of the Right To Information Act the CIC had not even recorded the reasons to suggest as to what was the overwhelming public interest which required sharing the personal information of the degree of the Prime Minister when such information was expressly exempted in light of the provisions of Section 8 of the Act.
He also argued that while Kejriwal had not even mentioned the public interest in the letter/application, a question of law was posed by the University in the petition to submit whether the CIC had acted within the framework of law.
The Court in its verdict, noted, “At the outset, it would be pertinent to set out the parameters wherein this Court can step in and exercise the powers of review of a decision rendered by this Court. A power of review can be exercised on a discovery of a new and important matter or evidence which,after the exercise of due diligence was not within the knowledge or could not be produced at the time when the order was made.”
“The power can also be exercised on account of some mistake or error apparent on the face of the record or for any sufficient reason. A review cannot be claimed or asked for merely for a fresh hearing or correction of an erroneous view. Any other attempt would tantamount to abuse of the powers of review. Powers of review cannot be confused with powers of the Appellate Court and under the powers of review the Court cannot be asked to sit in Appeal over the Judgement,” the Court added.
The Court emphasized that the review application was essentially filed on the ground that the University had merely placed the register showing the conferment of the degree i.e. the Office Register and not the degree itself.
The Court further noted that the pleadings to the application indicate that the Office Register annexed to the application reflects the degree of the Hon’ble the Prime Minister.
The Court opined, “This court is of the opinion that once a finding is recorded by the competent court after hearing a particular litigant, the litigant can only take his legal remedy and recourse to law as may be available in law.”
“The court is conscious that seeking a review is and could be a remedy available in law but looking to the grounds and the arguments raised before this court in the review application, it cannot be said that the applicant has sought to invoke this remedy purely with a view to seeking legal recourse,” the Court added while dismissing the review petition.
Appearance: Mr Percy Kavina, Senior Counsel With Mr. Aum M Kotwal For The Petitioner(S) No. 1 Mr Tushar Mehta, Solicitor General With Mr Kanu Agarwal, Advocate With Mr Jash S Thakkar, Advocate For Ms Dharmishta Raval For The Respondent(S) No. 1 Mr Devang Vyas, Additional Solicitor General With Mr Kshitij M Amin For The Respondent(S) No. 2,3 Mr Shivang M Shah For The Respondent(S) No. 4
LL Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Guj) 181
Case Title: Arvind Kejriwal Versus Gujarat University
Case No.: Misc. Civil Application (For Review) No. 1 Of 2023 In R/Special Civil Application No. 9476 Of 2016
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