After former human resource development minister Smriti Irani, the educational qualifications of incumbent Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ have now been called into question.
A petition before President Ramnath Kovind has demanded that the minister’s “oath” be declared null and void since he prefixed his name with “Doctor” despite not holding a proper earned degree which would entitle him to use the honorific.
With an MA degree, Pokhriyal has only honorary doctorates, and across the world, the practice is that those conferred with this decorative ‘degree’ do not call themselves ‘Doctor’.
The Central Information Commission in December 2016 directed the Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University in Srinagar, Uttarakhand, to provide the details to the appellant. However, the information has not been provided by the concerned authorities yet.
The petition also stated that in all his election affidavits, Pokhriyal has mentioned that he had done an MA and obtained a doctorate, but there was no mention of his Class XII and BA examinations.
As such, Verma has suggested that “Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank is not even BA pass.” He went on to add that “this is the worst situation ever” since the “future of children is in [his] hands”. He wondered how such a minister would be able to handle the demands of his portfolio.
Purushottam said the reason Pokhriyal’s election petition did not contain details about his BA is that the Election Commission form specifically asks candidates to provide the details of their highest school/university education.
While Pokhriyal obtained his two ‘legitimate’ honorary PhDs after he became the chief minister of Uttarakhand in 2009, he had earlier flaunted his ‘PhD’ from Sri Lanka.
In his letter to the president, Verma enclosed a document, “Section 20 MISCELLANEOUS (Copies of CSIR letters/OMs)”, which under point 7 refer to a November 1998 letter in which all heads of national laboratories and institutions were told under the subject matter about “D.Sc. Degree awarded by Open International University for Complementary Medicines, Colombo- No recognition should be given to the Degree/Diploma or any other academic distinction conferred by this university.”
Source – The Wire