The Delhi University on Wednesday told the Delhi High Court that it cannot disclose the exam records of students who had pursued Bachelor of Arts courses in 1978 – the year in which the varsity claims Prime Minister Narendra Modi had graduated – as it has a fiduciary responsibility towards students, PTI reported.

The university was responding to a petition that Right to Information activists Anjali Bhardwaj, Nikhil Dey and Amrita Johri have filed, seeking the court’s permission to be part of the case involving the varsity and the Central Information Commission.

The university had challenged a Central Information Commission directive issued in 2016, which allowed the inspection of the university’s records of all students who had graduated in 1978. The university administration invoked the RTI Act’s Section 8(1)(j), which grants exemptions for possible breach of privacy, and Section 8(1)(e), which allows exemptions to disclosure of information because of “fiduciary relationship”.

The court had issued a stay order on the information panel’s order in January 2017, and had also stopped the varsity from filing replies in the case.

Justice Rajiv Shakdher on Wednesday told Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who is representing the Delhi University, to respond to the activists’ petition. Mehta claimed that the activists have “vested interests”.

The activists’ counsel, however, pointed out that this was a matter of “grave public importance” and the court’s decision would have serious consequences for the RTI system. The court had allowed similar interventions before when activists had sought information about the appointment of information commissioners of the Central Information Commission and the Lokpals, the petitioners’ lawyer argued.

The Delhi High Court asked the Delhi University to file its response to the activists’ plea in three weeks.