Sack Smriti Irani, Opposition tells govt

Our Bureau |Agencies | | Updated on: Dec 06, 2021
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NEW DELHI: BJP Mahila Morcha President and  Television Star Smriti Irani , in Delhi Photo:Sushil Kumar Verma

NEW DELHI: BJP Mahila Morcha President and Television Star Smriti Irani , in Delhi Photo:Sushil Kumar Verma

Degree discrepancy due to typo: Centre

The Opposition on Wednesday lashed out at the Narendra Modi government for allowing Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani to continue in her post despite a Delhi court taking cognizance of a complaint against her.

The complaint accused her of furnishing false information about her academic qualifications in affidavits she had filed with the Election Commission (EC) on different occasions.

With the court’s ruling, it is clear that the Minister has not only not only falsified records but has submitted contradictory affidavits to the EC, said the Congress. “She should be held guilty of offence under Section 125A read with Section 33 of Representation of Peoples Act, 1950 besides other offences under Indian Penal Code,” said senior party spokesperson Ajay Maken.

He further said Irani’s continuation in office is untenable and illegal, “both on the touchstone of constitutionality as also legality and morality”, particularly, when her degrees of Delhi University are under investigation. “Smriti Irani should be immediately sacked as HRD Minister in order to conduct a free and fair investigation in the matter,” he demanded.

His party colleague Randeep Surjewala said: “It is apparent that the country’s Education Minister is lying about her own education. What will happen to the future of millions of children in the country? Irani has no moral, constitutional or legal right to continue in her post for even a day.”

The BJP, however, defended Irani, saying a “typographical error” led to the filing of false information on her educational qualifications. Irani’s case could hardly be compared with that of former Delhi Law Minister Jitender Singh Tomar, also accused of falsifying educational records, the BJP insisted.

“One should know the difference between a fake document and a typographical error. This case is not for fake documents,” party spokesperson Sambit Patra told reporters here today.

AAP leader Ashuthosh was quick to point out there cannot be two yardsticks for the same issue. “The rule of law is the same for everybody, the Constitution and democracy are same for everybody. If they believe Tomar should be arrested, why not Irani?” he added.

The Delhi court has posted the matter for August 28.

While filing affidavits with her nomination papers for Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha polls, Irani had reportedly given different details about her educational qualifications.

No technical objections Metropolitan Magistrate Akash Jain, who decided to record pre-summoning evidence, ruled out technical objections like delay in filing the complaint. Irani had filed the first affidavit way back in 2004 (when she had contested the Lok Sabha poll from Chandni Chowk constituency) and the second affidavit when she had entered the Rajya Sabha, in 2011.

The court, after recording the pre-summoning evidence, will decide whether there is enough material to go into the merits of the complaint against Irani, who under law, is not required at this stage to counter the allegations in the court.

In its five-page order, the court held that the issue of delay in launching a criminal prosecution may be considered at the stage of arriving at a final decision and this might not be a ground for dismissing a complaint.

Published on June 24, 2015
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