NEW DELHI, June 24 (IANS): A court here on Wednesday took cognizance of a complaint against Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani for allegedly misrepresenting facts in her election affidavits, holding that "arguments made on behalf of the complainant hold merit".
Metropolitan Magistrate Akash Jain considered the private complaint against Irani and fixed August 28 for recording pre-summoning evidence in the case.
"The arguments made on behalf of complainant (Ahmer Khan) hold merit," the court said.
The court will record the statement of the complainant and other as witnesses in the case on that day.
"Keeping in view the date of filing of final affidavit, containing alleged false information by accused (Irani) on April 16, and while affording the benefit of section 469 (1)(b) (commencement of the period of limitations) of Code of Criminal Procedure to complainant, it is held that the complaint in question is filed by complainant within the stipulated period of limitation," the court said.
The section in question, which deals with the period of limitation in relation to an offence, says that in cases where the commission of the offence was not known to the person aggrieved by the offence or to any police officer, this will be taken to begin from the first day on which such offence comes to the knowledge of such person or to any police officer.
The court observed that the discrepancies in the affidavits of Irani came to the knowledge of complainant firstly in May 2014 when the print media reports on her educational qualifications first appeared, whereafter he started making efforts to collect all the relevant information pertaining to the issue through proper channels.
The complainant has prayed that the complaint in question having been filed in the month of April 2015 is well within the prescribed period of limitation.
The court on June 1 reserved its order on consideration of the complaint filed by Khan who alleged that Irani in her three affidavits before the Election Commission while filing nominations for her candidature for Lok Sabha as well as Rajya Sabha polls, had purportedly given different details about her educational qualification.
Khan in his complaint in April sought action against the minister for allegedly lying on oath about her educational qualification.
His lawyer K.K. Manan told the court that Irani declared herself to be a 1996 batch B.A. graduate from Delhi University's School of Correspondence in her affidavit filed for the 2004 Lok Sabha election. But in her 2014 Lok Sabha election affidavit, she stated she had done B.Com Part 1 in 1994 from Delhi University (open learning).
In another affidavit of July 11, 2011 for contesting Rajya Sabha election from Gujarat, she said her highest educational qualification was B.Com part I from DU's School of Correspondence.
"It is evident from the contents of the affidavits filed by Irani that at best, only one of the depositions by her on oath in respect of her educational qualifications is correct," said the petitioner's counsel.