Twitter erupted with the hash tag DegreeDikhaoPMSaab couple of days ago. The issue came to limelight after the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) apparently said it has no information about the PM’s MA degree from Gujarat University. The PMO is well within its right to say what it said.
#DegreeDikhaoPMSaab trended on twitter couple of days ago and netizens were questioning the academic credentials of the Prime Minister. Some of them have likened it to the issue of former AAP Minister Mr. Tomar & HRD Minister Smriti Irani. But, as we explain in this article, there is much ado about nothing in this issue. The people questioning the academic credentials of the Prime Minister are knocking the wrong door to find out the truth.
Here are a few tweets by the twitteratti on the issue
“Modi, Modi” “Yes, papa” “Show me your degree” “No, Papa” “Telling lies?” “Ha ha ha” #DegreeDikhaoPMSaab
— Shuvankar Mukherjee (@shuvankr) August 8, 2015
PMO: 2 RTI by Jashodaben:Declined RTI for Foreign Trip Expenses:Declined RTI for Qualification of PM:Declined. #DegreeDikhaoPMSaab
— Rajdeep Sardesai (@surdesairajdeep) August 8, 2015
Narendra Modi’s Election Affidavit
According to the election affidavit filed by Narendra Modi in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, he has a Master of Arts degree from Gujarat University & a Bachelor of Arts degree from Delhi University.
Unlike HRD Minister Smriti Irani who put in different academic credentials in different election affidavits, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s academic credentials were the same in all his affidavits. Both in his affidavit for the 2012 & 2007 Gujarat Assembly Election, he academic credentials were the same as he mentioned in 2014.
Master of Arts from Gujarat University
Some people have pointed out that the Prime Minister’s website removed reference to his MA degree from Gujarat University. It is true that the PM’s website does not have any mention of his MA degree. But for that matter, the profile does not mention anything his education. In fact, the Gujarat University website lists Narendra Modi as its Alumnus confirming that he did get his degree from that University.
RTI Reply from PMO & ECI
Some sections of the media reported that the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) refused to part with information regarding Narendra Modi’s education credentials. The PMO in its reply said that such information is not in its records and hence cannot provide the same. It has to be said that the PMO is well within its right to say this. Section 2(j) of the RTI act clearly lays down the conditions for any public authority providing information. Any public authority (like the PMO) is obliged to provide information if it is held by it or under its control. No existing law mandates that the PMO have details of the educational credentials/degrees of the PM. In other words, the PM is under no obligation to provide details or submit his degree certificates to the PMO when he takes over as the PM. Similar logic applies for the Election Commission of India (ECI). A contesting candidate need not submit any academic degree certificates to the ECI except for mentioning his academic credentials in the affidavit. The Election Commission does not enquire into the details mentioned in the affidavit on its own.
What is the way out?
For those who are still doubtful about the academic credentials of the PM, they should be filing an application under the RTI with the Gujarat University & Delhi University, not with the PMO & ECI. In their quest to find out the truth, they are knocking the wrong door.
Featured Image Source: narendramodiofficial | flickr