Smriti Irani degree row: All you need to know
Union HRD Minister Sriti Irani is at the centre of controversy for furnishing wrong information in her election affidavits (Form 26) regarding her educational qualifications.
The controversy relates to three of her affidavits filed in 2004, 20011 and 2014:
I. 2004 affidavit
Smriti had unsuccessfully contested 2004 Lok Sabha polls from Chandni Chowk. At that time, she stated that she holds a BA degree.
II. 2011 affidavit
In 2011, when she was elected to the Rayja Sabha, Smriti mentioned that her educational qualification is B.Com-Part-I.
III. In 2014
When she unsuccessfully contested Lok Sabha polls from Amethi, Smriti furnished the same details (B.com, Part-I) which she had submitted while contesting the Rajya Sabha election in 2011.
Therefore, the only discrepancy exists in her 2004 affidavit. Educational qualifications mentioned in 2011 and 2014 affidavits remain the same.
What is Form 26
Form 26, was introduced in August 2012 under Section 33A of the Representation of the People Act. It seeks details of a candidate's assets and liabilities, criminal antecedents and educational qualifications.
Any false declaration in the Form 26 is an offence under Section 125A of the Act, punishable with imprisonment up to six months.
The law says that if complaint about false information in the affidavit is to be lodged, it should be filed before the returning officer. If the officer is satisfied about its merits, the complaint should be filed before the court under Section 177 of IPC.