New Delhi: In a major relief to Narendra Modi, the Gujarat High Court on Tuesday rejected a contempt plea against him.
The petition was filed against the Gujarat Chief Minister for criminal contempt of court for allegedly disclosing the contents of his correspondence with the Gujarat Governor Kamla Beniwal on the appointment of the state Lokayukta to the Prime Minister.
Earlier applicants had insisted that the deliberate sharing of the letter with the press influenced the proceedings of the Lokayukta case which was already in the High Court.
The court, however, concluded that the sharing of the letter written by Modi with the press did not amount to its contempt.
Last year in September, Narendra Modi had written to PM Manmohan Singh demanding the recall of the Governor for having appointed a retired Justice, RA Mehta without consulting the state government.
The division bench of Justice Akil Kureshi and Justice
Sonia Gokani, however, observed that writing of the letter by
the chief minister was not intended to interfere in the due
course of justice.
"Hence, we do not find any reason to entertain the
petition seeking contempt of court proceedings against the
chief minister or issue any notice in this regard," the court
Another petition on the same issue was filed by an NGO
Jan Sangarsh Manch through its lawyer Rajesh Mankad.
On August 2011, Gujarat Governor Kamla had appointed
retired Justice RA Mehta as the Lokayukta of the state,
bypassing the elected state government. The post was vacant
for the past seven years.
A few days later, Modi wrote the letter, in which, he said
the Governor has "wrongly appropriated" the function of the
duly elected state government which is a "major subversion" of
The court said most of the contentions of the letter
(written by Modi) form a part of the state`s averments in the
petition challenging the Lokayikta`s appointment by the
The court also said that the petitioners have not been
affirmatively able to assert that the chief minister leaked
the letter to the media or it was circulated under his
instructions or directions.
The court further stated that Government`s affidavit,
in reply to this petition, stated that the chief minister did
not instruct or issue directions on the release of the letter
to the press and neither were such instructions issued by the
chief minister`s office.
"We would not be guided without specific averments on
the contentions and merely on assumptions," the court said.
Earlier, on October 11, the same bench, which rejected
the contempt petition today, had given a split verdict in the
case of appointment of Lokayukta by the Governor, bypassing
the state government.
While Justice Kureshi had upheld the decision of
Governor, Justice Gokani had quashed the warrant of
appointment, issued by the Governor, terming it to be
The matter of the appointment of Lokayukta is now
pending against the third judge.