New Delhi: I&B minister Manish Tewari on Wednesday hit out at the Narendra Modi government after Justice(retd) R A Mehta refused to join as Gujarat Lokayukta, saying the incident had shown what respect the state government had for democratic institutions.
"If the Lokayukta, who is supposed to act as a watchdog on the affairs of the state, is so convinced that the entire intent of the government would be to completely to subvert and undermine his existence, it tells the country as to what is the temperament, and what is the respect for democracy and the institutions of democracy which the Gujarat government has," Tewari said.
Tewari was commenting on the decision of retired High Court judge Mehta who today declined to assume office, citing state government`s long and expensive legal battle against his appointment as one of the reasons.
In a letter to Governor Kamla Beniwal and Chief Justice of the High Court, Mehta blasted the Modi government for calling him "biased" and "anti-government" while opposing his appointment.
"The present controversy has denigrated the office of the Lokayukta and adversely affected its credibility. The appointment has lost all the grace and dignity," he said.
The Gujarat Governor had appointed Mehta as Lokayukta on August 25, 2011. However this was followed by a legal battle which lasted almost two years as state government sought to overturn his appointment and contested it till the last remedy of a curative petition in the Supreme Court was rejected.