Fake degree case: Court asks EC to authenticate certificates of Smriti Irani

New Delhi, Oct 6: Patiala House Court on Thursday asked Election Commission to authenticate certificates of Union Minister Smriti Irani in fake degree case. The Court was hearing a complaint filed against Irani for allegedly giving false information regarding her academic qualifications in affidavits to the Election Commission. Court later adjourned matter till 15 October.

All you need to know about the Fake degree issue.

Background of the case

The complainant , Ahmer Khan, a freelance writer had alleged that Irani had deliberately given discrepant information about her educational qualifications in affidavits filed before the poll panel in 2004, 2011 and 2014 and not given any clarification despite concerns being raised on the issue.

Fake degree: Day of reckoning for Irani

Khan had alleged that Irani had knowingly furnished misleading information about her qualifications in affidavits filed before EC and that a candidate, deliberately giving incorrect details, could be punished under provisions of the IPC and under section 125A of the Representation of the People Act (RPA).

Section 125A of RPA deals with penalty for filing false affidavit and entails a jail term of up to six months or fine or both.

What happened in last hearing?

Earlier on October 1, the court had reserved its order after hearing arguments advanced by complainant, and going through the reports submitted by the Election Commission and Delhi University regarding Irani's educational degrees.

The court was earlier told by an official appearing for the poll panel that the documents filed by Irani regarding her educational qualification while filing nominations were not traceable. However, the information on this was available on its website, it had said.

DU submitted documents of Irani's BA course

In pursuance to the court's earlier direction, DU had also submitted that the documents pertaining to Irani's BA course in 1996, as purportedly mentioned by her in an affidavit filed during 2004 Lok Sabha elections, were yet to be found.

The court had on November 20 last year allowed the complainant's plea seeking direction to the officials of EC and DU to bring the records of Irani's qualifications after he said he was unable to place them before the court.

Smirti Irani-A Model-turned TV actress turned politician

Smriti Irani was born in a Delhi-based Punjabi middle class family and her father used to run a small courier company. Smriti's mother is a Bengali and she is the eldest among three sisters.

She gone through a lot of trials and tribulations before attaining her stardom. Irani herself accepted that before starting career in modeling, she worked as waitress at popular food joint McDonald.

In 1990s, she came to Mumbai to earn a big name for herself. In 1998, Femina Miss India beauty pageant, she was among the top finalists.

In 2000, she got breakthrough in TV serials. She worked in many serials including popular Kyun ki Saas bhi kabhi bahu thi. This daily soap which ran for about 8 years and ended in 2008, made her household name.

Her political career-A brief timeline

2003: Cashing on the huge popularity of her role in TV serial Kyun ki Saas bhi kabhi bahu thi, Irani joined BJP at the age of 38. She had played role of Tulsi Virani, the "ideal bahu" in the serial.

2004: She was appointed as the vice president of BJP's Maharashtra youth wing.
This year, Irani also contested Lok sabha election against Kapil Sibal from Delhi's Chandni Chowk constituency. Though Irani lost election, she was applauded for challenging Sibal, a Congress veteran.

2010: She was appointed National Secretary of BJP as well as All India President of the BJP Mahila Morcha.

2011: Irani was sworn in as the Member of Parliament (MP) from Gujarat to the Rajya Sabha.

2014: Because of her dedication for party's work and capablity as a leader, she was given ticket to fight Lok Sabha polls against Rahul Gandhi from Congress' home turf Amethi. Though she lost poll, still Irani became blue eyed girl of Modi for giving tough fight to Congress scion in his fiefddom.

Appointed as HRD minister

Irani was made HRD minister, despite losing Lok Sabha election. Party workers even questioned the decision, saying that how can a 12th pass lady can handle such an important portfolio. It is being said that she was personally chosen by Modi despite the move getting red flagged by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

'Controversy queen'

Irani's stint as HRD minister was marred by major controversies over protests in the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus in Delhi and also the students' protest over the death of scholar Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad.

Angry protests and campus violence were reported from various other universities too under her regime.

She also faced flak on appointment of IIT directors and Delhi University's four-year university programme (FYUP). Apart from abover, Irani was severly criticised for her decision to replace German with Sanskrit as the third language in Kendriya Vidyalayas.

Shifted to Textile Minister

In July, 2016 reshuffle, Irani was removed as HRD minister and was given charge of Textile minister. The move was seen as demotion of Irani as she couldn't stand up on the expectations of Narendra Modi. Critics said that she was removed for creating unnecessary controversies and not justifying her role as HRD minister.

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