Guj Governor wins Lokayukta battle against Modi
Ahmedabad: In a big setback to the Narendra Modi-led state government, the Gujarat High Court on Wednesday upheld the appointment of the Lokayukta in the state by the Governor.
The state government had earlier challenged Governor Kamla Beniwal`s appointment of Justice (retired) RA Mehta as state’s Lokayukta, deeming the move unconstitutional and unilateral.
The verdict was pronounced by Judge VM Sahai today. The case was assigned to him after split verdict by a division bench, which heard a petition moved by the Gujarat government challenging the appointment of the Lokayukta by the Governor bypassing the state government.
Sharply criticising Narendra Modi, Justice VM Sahai of the Gujarat High Court said the "pranks" played by the Chief Minister on the Lokayukta issue
"demonstrates destructions of our democracy" and that had
sparked a "constitutional mini-crisis".
Rejecting Gujarat Government`s petition challenging
appointment of Justice (retd) RA Mehta as Lokayukta by
Governor Dr Kamla Beniwal, Justice Sahai said Modi`s
"questionable" conduct of "stonewalling" the appointment of
Justice Mehta threatened the rule of law.
Justice Sahai, the third judge who heard the case after
split verdict of a division bench, said the Chief Minister`s
effort to metastasise the procedure for appointment of
Lokayukta by issuing the Gujarat Lokayukta (Amendment)
Ordinance, 2011, were "deprave and truculent" actions.
Mehta was appointed as Lokayukta in August last year by Governor Beniwal. The post was lying vacant since November 2003.
On October 11, the division bench delivered a split verdict. While Justice Kureshi, who headed the bench, upheld the Governor`s action, Justice Gokani held the appointment as unconstitutional.
Meanwhile, the Gujarat government has decided to appeal against the High Court ruling in the apex court.
Gujarat government spokesperson Jai Narayan Vyas told reporters, “The state government has decided to challenge today’s ruling of the High Court in the Supreme Court after due legal consultations.”
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