SC upholds appointment of Gujarat Lokayukta
In a blow to Narendra Modi-led Gujarat government, the Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the appointment of retired judge RA Mehta`s as state Lokayukta by Governor Kamla Beniwal.
New Delhi: Rejecting the state government’s contention that Mehta was appointed unilaterally by the Governor and hence had breached the constitutional norms and was done without taking its consent, the Supreme Court said that appointment was valid as the Governor had appointed the Lokayukta after taking into consideration the views of the Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court.
A bench of justices BS Chauhan and FM Ibrahim Kalifulla rejected the state`s appeal against the order of the Gujarat High Court which had upheld the Governor`s decision last January. The bench ordered that immediate steps be taken to see that Justice Mehta is appointed as Lokayukta.
“Governor is bound to act under advice of Council of
Ministers but appointment is right as it was done in consultation with Gujarat HC Chief Justice,” the court said.
The state government had said the Governor has to act on the advice of the Cabinet and its consent is must for the appointment of Lokayukta.
It had argued that the appointment was done by Governor Beniwal without following due procedure in an unconstitutional manner.
The state government had also said the Governor had exercised his personal discretion unilaterally and issuing of the warrant of appointment of Lokayukta by him was "unwarranted".
The Centre, however, has contended that there should not be any interference with the High Court order and the appeal filed by the state government and the NGO was devoid of merit.
The Governor had on August 25 last year appointed Justice Mehta to the post of Lokayukta, which had been lying vacant for the last eight years.
The High Court had on January 18 rejected the Gujarat government`s plea against the appointment, three months after it had given a split verdict.
Justice V M Sahai, who decided the matter as a third judge had said the "pranks" played by the chief minister on the Lokayukta issue "demonstrates deconstruction of our democracy."
With PTI inputs