HC hearing on Guj Lokayukta appointment concludes
Ahmedabad: Hearing in the Gujarat High Court on the State Government`s petition challenging the appointment of Justice (Retd) RA Mehta as Lokayukta by the Governor concluded on Friday, and judgement is likely next week.
The Division Bench of Justices Akil Kureshi and Sonia Gokani, which heard the petition filed in late August, is likely to start dictating the judgement in open court from October 10.
The Government today submitted in a sealed cover the communication that took place between Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Governor Kamala with regards to the ordinance for dropping the HC Chief Justice from the committee that finalises the name for appointment as Lokayukta.
The court, during the last hearing on October 05, had sought from the state the confidential letters exchanged between the CM and Governor between August 18 and 26.
The direction was issued after senior counsel Girish Patel told the court that the Government deliberately chose not to place certain documents related to the ordinance to amend the Lokayukta Act on record.
Patel, appearing for one Bhikhabhai Jethava, who sought appointment of Lokayukta by filing a public interest litigation (PIL) in August, supported the Governor`s decision to appoint the anti-corruption ombudsman without consulting the Modi Government.
Though Governor was bound to act on advice of the State Government, she was justified in appointing Justice Mehta as Lokayukta because the Government had grossly violated the Lokayukta Act by not filling up the post for more than seven years, Patel argued.
The government does not have a veto power to annul the Governor`s decision, Patel had maintained.
On August 26 bypassing the Modi government, Kamala had appointed Justice Mehta as the Lokayukta, a post lying vacant since 2003.
An aggrieved BJP government moved the high court on the same day, contending that the Governor`s decision was "unconstitutional and unilateral".
Modi also wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking recall of Kamala.
The state BJP has been protesting the governor`s move and pushing for her removal from the post.
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