Ahmadabad: The Gujarat High Court, Monday, postponed hearing on a petition filed by the state government challenging the appointment of Lokayukta by the Governor without consulting the Chief Minister.
The court will take up the matter on September 7.
On Aug 25, Governor Kamla Beniwal, bypassing the state government, appointed Justice (Retd) RA Mehta as the state Lokayukta. The decision was challenged by the government in the court.
The petition argued that constitutionally the Governor herself cannot take decision on appointment of Lokayukta nor can she work independent of the council of ministers headed by the Chief Minister on the issue.
However, during last hearing, the court had asked the government to amend its petition since, constitutionally; Governor cannot be made a respondent .
The direction was issued by the division bench of Justice Akil Kureshi and Justice Sonia Gokani who stated that under Article 361 of the Indian Constitution the state government cannot make the Governor or the President respondent in the court.
Senior BJP leaders had met the President and sought the recall of the Governor.
On the other hand, Shaktishin Gohil, opposition leader, said: “Section 3 of the Lokayukta Act, 1985, states the rights of governor, which gives the right to take decision on appointment of Lokayukta.”
For over seven years the post of Lokayukta in Gujarat has been lying vacant. Even in June 2011, High Court Chief Justice SJ Mukhopadhyay recommended the name of retired Justice RA Mehta. The state government asked him to rethink his recommendation, but the chief justice again recommended the same name on Aug 2.
The High Court had issued a notice to the state government over a PIL seeking appointment of Lokayukta. The petition was filed by Bhikhu Jethawa, father of Right To Information (RTI) activist Amit Jethava who was shot dead in front of the Gujarat High Court in July last year.