The Delhi High Court on Monday stayed the Central Information Commission order directing Delhi University to allow inspection of records of all students who had passed the BA degree exam in 1978, the year in which, according to the University, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also cleared the examination.
Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva also issued notice to Neeraj, the petitioner before the CIC, on whose plea the CIC passed the order to allow inspection of records under the RTI Act.
During the hearing, Delhi University represented through Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta, said that details of third parties cannot be given out since the university has a fiduciary relationship with the third persons.
Delhi University approached the HC seeking setting aside of CIC order, saying the "impugned order, which is per se contrary to the Act, has far reaching adverse consequences for DU and all universities in the country who holds degrees of crores of students in a fiduciary capacity.
If the illegal direction issued by the CIC is not set aside, DU and all other universities in the country would be flooded with similar applications. "On December 21, 2016, the CIC ordered to make degrees public and rejected the contention of the Central Public Information Officer of the University that it was a third party personal information."
The CIC had directed the university "to facilitate inspection of relevant register where complete information about result of all students who passed in Bachelor of Arts, in year 1978 along with roll number, names of the students, father's name and marks obtained as available with the University and provide certified copy of the extract of relevant pages from the register, free of cost".
"RTI applicant Neeraj had sought to know from the University the total number of students who appeared in Bachelor of Arts, Year 1978, besides result of all students who appeared in the examination along with their roll number, name of the students with father's name, marks and result pass or failed. Denying the information, the Central Public Information Officer of the University had earlier responded that the information requested is treated as "personal information of the students concerned, the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest".
The issue of the 1978 DU degree records cropped up after Aam Aadmi Party raised questions about the degree of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, triggering a controversy.