Aditi SinghJan 28, 2020, 6:34 PM

The matter would be heard next on April 15.

Three years on, hearing in the petition concerning inspection of Delhi University’s 1978 BA degree records was deferred once more by the Delhi High Court.

Popularly known as the Prime Minister Narendra Modi Degree case, the matter was adjourned today by a Single Judge Bench of Justice Jayant Nath till April 15.

Additional Solicitor General Maninder Acharya mentioned the matter in the morning before Justice Nath and sought an adjournment on the ground that the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta was unavailable.

Counsel for the Respondent “strongly opposed” the adjournment and urged the Court to hear the case anyway.

This was the fifth adjournment in the case in the last one year.

The University of Delhi had approached the High Court against a 2016 order of the Central Information Commission which had allowed inspection of Delhi University’s 1978 BA degree records.

Notice to the Respondent who was the RTI applicant was issued on January 23, 2017 and the CIC order with respect to the publication of result of all students who appeared in Bachelor of Arts in 1978 along with their Roll number etc was stayed.

Thereafter, the case was listed more than ten times but no effective hearing has taken place yet.

Post notice, the second hearing in the case took place on April 27, 2017 when DU sought time to file its rejoinder to the response filed by the Respondent and the matter was deferred till November 16, 2017.

The rejoinder affidavit was, however, not filed by DU by the next date of hearing and right to do was closed by the Court.

In 2018 as well, no effective hearing in the case took place. The year saw RTI activists moving an application to intervene in the matter and assist the Court in determining the importance of the right to information in such cases. The intervention plea is yet to be admitted.

On two occasions, the matter could not be taken up by the Court due to paucity of time.

Finally, on February 4, 2019, the Court listed the matter for “final hearing” on April 23, 2019 at a designated time.

Since then, the matter has been adjourned four times.

While the two orders passed on April 23, 2019 and July 25, 2019 indicate that the adjournment was sought due to the unavailability of the Solicitor General, the order passed on November 28, 2019 remains silent with respect to the reasons behind the adjournment.

The next date in the case was today and the interim order continues to remain in force till the next date of hearing i.e April 15.

DU, in its petition has challenged the CIC order on the ground that it violated the RTI Act’s provision pertaining to privacy under Section 8(1)(j) and that it is in possession of the information being sought in a fiduciary capacity under section 8(1)(e) of the Act.

DU has also opposed the intervention plea by RTI Anjali Bhardwaj, Nikhil Dey, and Amrita Johri on the ground that the Activists were neither persons aggrieved nor necessary party or proper party to the lis.

Read the Orders passed in the case from January 2017 till November 2019: