HC notice to Guj govt over Lokayukta appointment

The Gujarat High Court on Thursday issued a notice to the state government over a PIL seeking appointment of the Lokayukta.

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
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

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.


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