HC notice to Guj govt over Lokayukta appointment
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Last Updated: Thursday, August 18, 2011, 15:53
Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court on Thursday issued a notice to the state government over a PIL seeking appointment of the Lokayukta.

A division bench of Justice Akil Kureshi and Justice Sonia Gokani while issuing the notice asked the government to file its reply by August 29 when the next hearing is scheduled.

The high court asked the government to file an affidavit detailing the present status of the appointment of the ombudsman as per the Gujarat Lokayukta Act, 1986.

The government has not appointed anyone to the post in the last seven years.

The PIL was filed by Bhikhabhai Jethava, father of Right To Information (RTI) activist Amit Jethava who was shot dead in front of the Gujarat High Court in July last year.

Jethava demanded that non-appointment of the Lokayukta be held illegal and unconstitutional and sought the court's directions to the state government for the appointment to take place within a stipulated period of time.

The petitioner also contended that the state has failed to appoint the Lokayukta even one year after it made a statement on the same.

In June last year, the Additional Advocate General had said in the High Court on a similar petition that the consultation process for the appointment of Lokayukta was already over.

The state Cabinet has taken a decision in the matter and has forwarded the same to the Governor of Gujarat for taking appropriate decision, he had added.

Jethava argued that either statement of the learned Additional Advocate General was incorrect, which was very serious as it amounts to propriety on the part of a constitutional authority or the state of Gujarat has developed a cold feet in appointing lokayukta.

He further said that the state may be trying to prevent a statutory authority from investigating into allegations of corruption, misdeeds, abuse of power and personal benefit on the part of Ministers and public functionaries as defined in the Gujarat Lokayukta Act, 1986.

The petitioner stated in the PIL that Gujarat had Lokayukta till 2003 and even after more than seven years, the state government has not appointed the one and thereby frustrating the Gujarat Lokayukta Act.

He alleged that non-appointment of Lokayukta was a deliberate failure on part of the government to fulfil its constitutional obligation since it is mandatory to appoint lokayukta as per the Act.

Jethava also alleged that there were serious complaints against the state government of corruption, disposal of government land at throwaway price to industrial houses in the name liberalisation, privatisation of natural, public and community resources in the name of development, intellectual and monetary corruption and abuse of position for improper and corrupt motives.

Due to non-appointment of lokayukta there is no institution in the State of Gujarat and the platform that can look into such allegations and do investigation into the same, he further stated.


First Published: Thursday, August 18, 2011, 15:53

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