The Gujarat High Court on Thursday sought a reply from the Election Commission of India to a public interest litigation petition alleging that Gujarat minister of state Shankar Chaudhari holds a bogus MBA degree.
The division bench of acting Chief Justice Jayant Patel and Justice N V Anjaria issued notice to the ECI after the petitioner added the Commission as a party to the PIL. On October 13, the HC had issued notices to Gujarat government, State Election Commission, the minister and the Superintendent of Police of Patan district. It also issued notices to Patan-based Sheth K B Vakil Vividhlaxi Vidyalaya where Chaudhari completed his std 12th in 2011 and the National Institute of Management (NIM) of Vadodara where he got his allegedly bogus MBA degree.
Chaudhari is minister of state for Health and Family Welfare with independent charge of Urban Housing. The petitioner Farsu Goklani is a Patan-based Congress worker. As per the school records obtained under RTI Act, the minister passed std 12th in 2011, but his affidavit before the State Election Commission in 2012 stated that he had completed MBA in the same year (2012) from NIM, the PIL points out.
No institute can grant an MBA within a year of completing the std 12th, and the minister should be prosecuted for providing false information in the affidavit, it says. Chaudhari’s election should be set aside and he should be sacked from the ministry, the PIL demands. Chaudhari, MLA from Vav in Banaskantha district, was made a minister after Anandiben Patel became Chief Minister in May 2014.