HC stays CIC order on Modi DU degree

University was asked to allow inspection of records of the PM

January 24, 2017 01:46 am | Updated 02:03 am IST - NEW DELHI:

The Delhi High Court on Monday stayed an order of the Central Information Commission (CIC) that directed Delhi University to allow the inspection of records of all students who had passed the B.A. examination in 1978, which is when Prime Minister Narendra Modi had cleared it.

Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva stayed the order after Delhi University challenged the CIC’s December 21, 2016, decision.

The court also issued notice to RTI activist Neeraj, based on whose petition the commission had passed the order and asked DU to share details of the 1978 B.A. examination.

DU had approached court

The university had approached the court saying that the CIC order was arbitrary and untenable as the details sought was personal information pertaining to a third party, which would serve no public interest.

Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and standing counsel for the central government, Arun Bhardwaj, submitted before the court that the CIC order had “far-reaching adverse consequences for the petitioner and all universities in the country, which hold degrees of crores of students in a fiduciary capacity”.

‘Completely illegal’

In its plea, Delhi Univeristy had said, “It was completely illegal for the CIC to direct the petitioner (DU) to disclose information that is available to it in fiduciary capacity, that too without rendering any finding pertaining to any pressing necessity or overwhelming public interest warranting disclosure of such information on account of overwhelming/larger public interest sought to be achieved through such disclosure.”

The CIC, in its order, had asked DU “to facilitate inspection of relevant register where complete information about result of all the students who passed in Bachelor of Arts in 1978, along with roll number, names of the students, fathers’ names and marks obtained as available with the University and provide certified copy of the extract of relevant pages from the register, free of cost....”

The order also said, “With regard to the question of whether disclosure of such identification-related information causes invasion of privacy, or is that unwarranted invasion of privacy, the PIO has not put forward any evidence or explained possibility to show that disclosure of degree-related information infringes the privacy or causes unwarranted invasion of privacy”.

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