The Patiala House court on Tuesday refused to summon union textile minister Smriti Irani in the fake degree certificate row. The court said that the case had been filed just to harass the minister, NDTV reported. A freelance writer named Ahmer Khan had filed a petition in the court, accusing Irani of having produced contradictory documents pertaining to her educational qualifications while contesting elections, and not giving any clarification on the numerous concerns being raised on the issue.
According to section 125 of the Representation of People Act (RPA), furnishing a false affidavit can land you in jail for six months, or a fine or both. The Delhi University stated before the court that the documents related to the Bachelor of Arts course pursued by the minister in 1996, which she had mentioned in her 2004 Lok Sabha elections, were yet to be found. However, Irani mentioned her highest educational qualification being B.Com, Part 1 course through correspondence from School of Correspondence, Delhi University, while filing nomination for Rajya Sabha polls from Gujarat in the year 2011.
Smriti Irani twice contested Lok Sabha elections in 2004 and 2014, losing to Kapil Sibal of Congress from Chandni Chowk and then to Rahul Gandhi from Amethi respectively.
She was appointed as cabinet minister for human resources development when the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA government came to power in 2014. Two years later, her portfolio was shifted to textiles in the government’s latest reshuffle.