A Delhi court on Monday reserved its order for June 24 on a complaint filed against HRD Minister Smriti Irani for allegedly giving “false” information about her educational qualification in affidavits filed with the Election Commission.
Metropolitan Magistrate Akash Jain heard the arguments advanced by senior advocate K K Manan, who appeared for the complainant Ahmer Khan, a freelance writer, on the point of whether cognisance of the complaint can be taken or not.
During the hearing, Manan told the court that Irani had filed three affidavits before the ECI while filing nominations for her candidature for the Lok Sabha as well as the Rajya Sabha polls and gave different details about her educational qualification.
Referring to the details given by Irani, Manan said that in her affidavit for April 2004 Lok Sabha elections she said that she had 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 senior counsel further said that in her affidavit filed for nomination of April 16, 2014 Lok Sabha polls from Amethi constituency in UP, Irani had said she had completed Bachelor of Commerce Part-I from School of Open Learning, DU.
“When she did BA part I, II or III even god does not know. The question is, what the society is asking today from a person who is holding the post of the minister,” Manan told the magistrate.
The counsel also argued that the issue had cropped up after Aam Aadmi Party leader, who contested from Amethi against Irani and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, raised the issue regarding her educational qualification.
After hearing the arguments, the magistrate said, “The arguments heard on point as to whether cognisance in this case can be taken or not. Fix the matter for order on June 24.”
On May 14, the court had slapped a cost of Rs 1,000 on Khan as neither he nor his main counsel were available to argue the plea.
The court had, however, allowed him exemption from personal appearance for one day after a plea was moved seeking the same as he was out of Delhi due to some urgent work.
The complaint said that, “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,” adding that she had furnished “false information”.
It further said “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.”
“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 said.