PM Modi Degree Row: Gujarat HC Dismisses Arvind Kejriwal & Sanjay Singh Pleas

PM Modi Degree Row

The Gujarat High Court on Friday dismissed petitions by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders Arvind Kejriwal and Sanjay Singh to quash the summons issued against them in a criminal defamation case regarding their comments on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s educational qualification.

Kejriwal, Delhi Chief Minister, and Singh, AAP’s Rajya Sabha member, challenged the summons issued by a trial court in a case filed by Gujarat University and the subsequent order of the sessions court dismissing their revision applications against the summons.

Justice Hasmukh Suthar rejected their applications and directed the two AAP leaders to make their submissions before the trial court. In their quest to quash the summons, the leaders argued that Gujarat University (GU) should not file a defamation case before a magistrate court but instead should approach the sessions court.

The metropolitan court summoned Kejriwal and Singh on April 15 last year in response to the defamation case filed by GU over their “sarcastic” and “derogatory” statements regarding PM Modi’s degree. Subsequently, the two leaders filed a revision application in the sessions court contesting the summons. However, the sessions court upheld the summons, prompting them to appeal to the Gujarat HC, which rejected their request for an interim stay.

They also sought relief from the Supreme Court, which declined to entertain their pleas. The High Court then instructed the sessions court to conclude the hearing within ten days after assigning the matter to a new bench. Gujarat University registrar Piyush Patel filed a defamation case against Kejriwal and Singh following the HC’s decision in March last year to set aside the Central Information Commission (CIC) order concerning PM Modi’s educational qualification.

While the court imposed a cost of Rs 25,000 on Kejriwal, it refused to grant a stay on the order. Kejriwal and Singh allegedly made “defamatory” statements in press conferences and on social media targeting the university over Modi’s degree, as per GU’s complaint. The university claimed that their intentional remarks, aimed at GU, were defamatory and harmed the institution’s prestige. In April 2016, the then CIC M Sridhar Acharyulu directed Delhi University and GU to provide information to Kejriwal regarding Modi’s degrees. Three months later, the Gujarat HC stayed the CIC order after GU challenged it.

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About the Author: Nunnem Gangte