The Central Information Commission on Wednesday directed the Delhi University’s School of Open Learning to present all records it had on Union minister Smriti Irani’s educational qualifications, PTI reported. This came after the institution claimed that the textile minister had asked it to not disclose her degrees in response to a Right to Information application.
The CIC gave the order after hearing a petition filed by the RTI applicant. In the plea, the applicant sought to know whether Irani had obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1994 and whether she had passed her Bachelor of Commerce Part 1 examinations the same year. The applicant also sought photocopies of the minister’s hall ticket and marksheets, in addition to her admission forms and enrollment number.
In response to the application, the school had said that the RTI Act’s personal information and fiduciary exemption clauses did not allow it to provide the data sought. During the hearing, its central public information officer told the commission that he had consulted with Irani about RTI query, and that the minister had asked him to not reveal her records. Information Commissioner S Acharyulu said it was necessary to verify Irani’s records to resolve the matter.
Acharyulu’s order came a day after the CIC asked the Central Board of Secondary Examination to allow Irani’s Class 10 and 12 board exam records to be examined, dismissing the CBSE’s opposition that “personal information” could not be disclosed. The commission also directed Irani’s office and Delhi’s Holy Child Auxilium School, from where the minister claimed to have graduated, to provide her examination roll number to CBSE’s Ajmer division so her records can be traced from the database yet to be digitised.
A freelance writer had filed a case against the former human resource development minister in 2015, claiming that the information on her educational qualifications she had provided before the 2004 Lok Sabha elections differed from her 2011 Rajya Sabha nomination papers in Gujarat. On October 18, 2016, Delhi’s Patiala court had dismissed a petition that had called for Irani to be summoned in connection with the case.