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Fake degree row: Order on summoning Irani on Oct 1

New Delhi: A Delhi court would next month decide on whether to summon Union Minister Smriti Irani on a complaint filed against her for allegedly giving false information regarding her academic qualifications in affidavits to the poll panel for contesting various elections.

Metropolitan Magistrate Harvinder Singh, who was scheduled to pronounce the order today, fixed the matter for October one, saying the order was not ready.

The court had on September 3 reserved its order after hearing arguments advanced by complainant Ahmer Khan, a freelance writer, and going through the reports submitted by the Election Commission and the Delhi University regarding Irani’s educational degrees.

The court was earlier told by an official appearing for the poll panel that the documents filed by Irani regarding her educational qualification were not traceable. However, the information on this was available on its website, it had said.

In pursuance to the court’s earlier direction, DU had also submitted that the documents pertaining to Irani’s BA course in 1996, as purportedly mentioned by her in an affidavit filed during 2004 Lok Sabha elections, were yet to be found.

The court had on November 20 last year allowed the complainant’s plea seeking direction to the officials of EC and DU to bring the records of Irani’s qualifications after he said he was unable to place them before the court.

The complainant had alleged that Irani had deliberately given discrepant information about her educational qualifications in affidavits filed before the poll panel in 2004, 2011 and 2014 and not given any clarification despite concerns being raised on the issue.

Khan had alleged that Irani had knowingly furnished misleading information about her qualifications in affidavits filed before EC and that a candidate, deliberately giving incorrect details, could be punished under provisions of the IPC and under section 125A of the Representation of the People Act (RPA).

Section 125A of RPA deals with penalty for filing false affidavit and entails a jail term of up to six months or fine or both.
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The court had on June 24 last year taken cognisance of the complaint accusing Irani of furnishing false information about her academic qualifications in the affidavits filed before the EC in 2004, 2011 and 2014.

The complainant had earlier claimed in court that in her affidavit for April 2004 Lok Sabha polls, Irani had said she had done BA in 1996 from DU (School of Correspondence), whereas in another affidavit of July 11, 2011 to contest Rajya Sabha election from Gujarat, she had said her highest educational qualification was B.Com Part-I from the School of Correspondence, DU.

The complaint had also claimed that in the affidavit filed for nomination of April 16, 2014, Lok Sabha polls from Amethi constituency in Uttar Pradesh, Irani had said she had completed Bachelor of Commerce Part-I from School of Open Learning, DU.