A sessions court in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad on Thursday dismissed pleas by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Aam Aadmi Party MP Sanjay Singh that sought to quash the summons sent to them in a criminal defamation case, reported The Indian Express.
The Gujarat University filed the case against the politicians, alleging that they had made derogatory statements about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s educational qualifications.
The Bharatiya Janata Party has claimed that Modi was awarded a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the Delhi University in 1978 and a Master of Arts degree from the Gujarat University in 1983. However, Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party has alleged that the degrees are fabricated.
Gujarat University Registrar Piyush Patel had filed a complaint against Kejriwal and Singh after the state High Court in March quashed a 2016 order of the Chief Information Commissioner, asking the varsity to provide information about Modi’s degrees to the Delhi chief minister under the Right To Information Act.
Patel in his complaint claimed that the Opposition leaders had made defamatory statements against Modi at a press conference in April, where they had questioned the Gujarat High Court verdict.
One of the statements that Kejriwal had made and that Patel cited in its complaint said, “If the PM studied from Delhi University and Gujarat University, then Gujarat University should celebrate that their alumnus has become the prime minister and yet they are trying to hide and not disclosing the degree.”
The complaint also said that the statement was made before the media and broadcast through X, formerly known as Twitter, with the intention of damaging the reputation of the Gujarat University.
Kejriwal and Singh were summoned by a trial court in Gujarat in July.
Notably, the Gujarat University had also opposed the Central Information Commission’s order stating that the educational qualification of a public authority occupying a constitutional position is not personal information and does not fall under any exception of the Right to Information Act.
The university told the High Court that someone’s “irresponsible childish curiosity” cannot be deemed to be in the public interest under the Act.