New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Tuesday summoned the judicial records of a case in which a trial court had dismissed a plea against textiles minister Smriti Irani which alleged that she had misrepresented about her educational qualifications before the Election Commission.
Justice S.P. Garg called for records of the trial court, which in October last year had dismissed a complaint against Irani. The court directed that records be produced before it on the next date of hearing on 13 September. The court issued the direction on a plea of freelance writer Ahmer Khan, challenging the trial court’s decision of 18 October last year by which his complaint was dismissed, holding that it was filed to “needlessly harass" Irani as she was a union minister.
While declining to summon her as an accused, the trial court judge had said that there was a “great delay of around 11 years" in filing the complaint. The petitioner said the trial court order was bad in law and it needed to be set aside. Khan alleged that Irani had deliberately given discrepant information about her educational qualifications in affidavits filed before the Election Commission in 2004, 2011 and 2014 and did not give any clarification despite concerns raised. The petitioner had urged a trial court to take cognisance of the offences alleged in the plea under Section 125A of the Representation of the People Act (RPA) and “summon accused person, Smriti Z Irani, for trial".
Khan had alleged that the minister had knowingly furnished misleading information about her qualifications and that a candidate deliberately giving incorrect details could be punished under provisions of the IPC and under section 125A of the RPA.
Section 125A of the RPA deals with penalties for filing a false affidavit and entails a jail term of up to six months or fine or both. The complainant had claimed before the trial court that in her affidavit for April 2004 Lok Sabha polls, Irani had said she completed her BA in 1996 from DU (School of Correspondence), whereas in another affidavit of 11 July 2011 to contest the Rajya Sabha election from Gujarat, she had said her highest educational qualification was B.Com part I from the School of Correspondence, DU.
He had alleged that in the affidavit filed for nomination in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls from Amethi constituency in Uttar Pradesh, Irani said she had completed bachelor of commerce part-I from the School of Open Learning, DU.