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Delhi court trashes fake degree case against Irani

Delhi court trashes fake degree case against Irani

New Delhi: In a relief to Union Minister Smriti Irani, a trial court here on Tuesday dismissed a plea to issue summon against her for allegedly giving false information about her educational qualifications in her affidavit to the Election Commission of India.

The complaint was filed to harass the Minister, the Patiala House district court said.

Metropolitan Magistrate Harvinder Singh said prayer for seeking summon against Irani "is dismissed", and observed that the complaint has been filed after delay of 11 years and because the original elections affidavit of 2004 is not available.

The court was hearing a private complaint filed by Ahmer Khan, who accused Irani of submitting varying details about her educational qualifications in her three affidavits filed before the Election Commission for the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha elections held in 2004, 2011 and 2014.

"So where the original evidence has already been lost due to passage of number of years, the secondary evidence available will probably be not able to withstand test of judicial scrutiny, there is great delay of around eleven years in filing of the complaint, the said delay could be not condoned as complainant is not an aggrieved person," the court said.

"The complaint does not appear to have been filed for vindication of majesty of justice and maintenance of law and order, the complaint appear to have been filed by needlessly harass the proposed accused (Irani)."

"The fate of the case can be foreseen as inevitable failure due to loss of original evidence because of great delay and the court needs to relieve itself from the burden of adjudicating such inconsequential claims case, therefore, prayer for summoning of proposed accused is hereby declined," the court said.

In the last hearing, the Election Commission official submitted a certificate regarding authentication of the election affidavits filed by Irani in the 2004 election.

The Election Commission had earlier submitted documents that were a copy of the file extracted from its official website.

At that time, the commission told the court that Irani's original 2004 election affidavit was misplaced, the complainant's counsel told the media outside court.

Khan, who filed the complaint in April 2015, sought action against Irani on the charge of lying on oath about her educational qualifications.

His counsel K.K. Manan and Anjali Rajput alleged that the BJP leader declared herself to be a 1996-batch graduate from Delhi University's School of Correspondence in her affidavit filed for the 2004 Lok Sabha election, when she contested from Delhi's Chandni Chowk constituency.

But in her affidavit for the 2014 Lok Sabha election, when she contested from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, she allegedly said she did her B. Com. (Part I) in 1994 from Delhi University's School of Open Learning.

In yet another affidavit filed on July 11, 2011, for the Rajya Sabha election from Gujarat, Irani said her highest educational qualification was B.Com (Part I) from Delhi University's School of Correspondence.

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