Delhi court likely to pronounce verdict in Smriti Irani degree case today
New Delhi: A trial court in Delhi is likely to pronounce on Wednesday its order on a complaint against Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani for allegedly giving false information about her educational qualification in affidavits filed with the Election Commission.
Metropolitan Magistrate Akash Jain had on June 1 reserved the order on the plea after hearing arguments on the aspect of limitation and whether cognisance can be taken or not.
The complaint was filed by freelance writer Ahmer Khan, who alleged that Irani in her three affidavits before the EC, while filing nominations for her candidature for Lok Sabha as well as Rajya Sabha polls, had purportedly given different details about her educational qualification.
Senior advocate KK Manan, appearing for Khan, had told the court that in her affidavit for April 2004 Lok Sabha polls Irani had said that she completed her BA in 1996 from Delhi University (school of correspondence) whereas in another affidavit of July 11, 2011 for contesting Rajya Sabha election from Gujarat she said her highest educational qualification was B.Com part I from the School of Correspondence, DU.
The complaint alleged that in the affidavit filed for nomination of April 16, 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Amethi constituency in Uttar Pradesh, Irani said she had completed Bachelor of Commerce Part-I from School of Open Learning, DU.
"It is evident from the contents of the affidavits filed by Smriti Z Irani that at best only one of the depositions by her on oath in respect of her educational qualifications is correct," the complaint alleged.
"The aforesaid affidavits of Smriti Irani, apart from the ostensibly false and discrepant statements in respect of her educational qualifications, also appear to contain false discrepant statements in respect of immovable properties owned by her and other details set out by her," it claimed.
"The aforesaid facts and circumstances reveal commission of offences by accused under section 125A of Representation of People Act, 1951, besides any other offences that may attract other penal provisions as an outcome of an additional investigation," the plea alleged.
Soon after the Lok Sabha results were announced on May 16, Irani was at the centre of a raging controversy over her educational qualifications after it emerged that she had made contradictory declarations while contesting the parliamentary elections in 2004 and 2014.
After she took charge of HRD Ministry, Opposition had claimed that she is not qualified enough to lead an important ministry like HRD which oversees education system in the country.
After criticism over her degree, the Minister claimed that she had a “degree” from Yale University, which was later revealed to be a six-day leadership program.
"In that kitty of mine where people call me anpad (illiterate) I do have a degree from Yale University as well which I can bring out and show how Yale celebrated my leadership capacities. Extraneous circumstances are being created so that I deviate my concentration from what my goals are," she had said at an event last year.
She later withdrew her statement saying that it was misconstrued. “Unfortunate that statement re my participation in a leadership program & certificate thereafter was misconstrued,” she had posted on her Twitter account.
(With inputs from agencies)