In a big relief to Union Textile Minister Smriti Irani, the Patiala House Court today refused to summon her in the fake educational degree case.
Observing that the case was filed against her with the motive to harass her, Metropolitan Magistrate Harvinder Singh said that the petition alleging she faked her college degree would not have been filed had she not been a central minister.
The court said the minister would not be summoned and cited the delay of 11 long years as the reason behind dismissing the case.
The development comes as a big reprieve to the Cabinet minister who was recently moved to the Textiles ministry from the high-profile HRD, signaling that she had possibly fallen out of favour of the Prime Minister over the host of controversies surrounding her department.
On October 15, the Patiala House court had reserved the order in this case for October 18 after the Delhi State Election Commission, in pursuance to court's earlier direction, filed before it certain records in a sealed cover relating to Smriti Irani's educational qualification submitted by her for contesting the 2004 general elections.
The court had on October 6 directed Election Commission officials to file the documents after noting that certain clarifications were required in the matter.
During earlier hearings of the complaint filed by freelance writer Ahmer Khan, the court was told by a poll panel official that the documents filed by Ms Irani regarding her educational qualification while filing nominations, were not traceable. However, the information on this was available on its website, he had said.
In pursuance to the court's direction, Delhi University 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 Election Commission and Delhi University to bring the records of Irani's qualifications after he said he was unable to place them before the court.
The complainant 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.
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.