Press Esc to close
Friday 27 May 2016
News updated at 9:58 AM IST
Weather
Max: 33.2°C
Min : 22.2°C
In Bengaluru
Partially cloudy

SC upholds appointment of Gujarat Lokayukta

Gandhinagar, Jan 2, 2013, DHNS :

Verdict a setback for Narendra Modi government

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi at a press meet in Gandhinagar on Wednesday. PTI

The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the appointment of Justice R A Mehta, a retired High Court judge, as Gujarat Lokayukta, disregarding the state government’s opposition to his choice and objection to the selection process.

The apex court’s verdict came as a major setback to the Narendra Modi government which had challenged Governor Kamla Beniwal’s decision to go ahead with the appointment.

A bench of Justices B S Chauhan and F M I Kalifullah said the appointment was valid in law in view of the primacy of opinion by the High Court chief justice since he enjoyed an independent Constitutional status.

The governor, the High Court chief justice and the Leader of the Opposition in state Assembly had approved Justice Mehta’s choice to head the state anti-corruption watchdog.

However, the court in its judgment held that the governor could not appoint Lokayukta independently and went on to criticise Kamla Beniwal for completely bypassing the state government’s role in the appointment of the Lokayukta on August 25, 2011.

“The present governor has misjudged her role and has insisted that under the Act, the council of ministers has no role to play in the appointment of the Lokayukta, and that she could, therefore, fill it up in consultation with the chief justice of the Gujarat High Court and the Leader of Opposition. Such attitude is not in conformity, or in consonance with the democratic set-up of government envisaged in our Constitution,” the court said.

The apex court directed Justice Mehta to join immediately, while describing it as a “sorry state of affairs” where the post of Lokayukta had been lying vacant in Gujarat for more than nine years.

As far as the consultation process in appointment was concerned, the court noted that it was duly complete in August 2011 as per the Gujarat Lokayukta Act when three out of four statutory authorities—chief justice, governor and the Leader of Opposition—approved the name of Justice Mehta and that the chief justice also provided explanation to the chief minister, the fourth authority, on his objections.

But it added, “The appointment of the Lokayukta can be made by the governor, as the head of the state, only with the aid and advice of the council of ministers, and not independently as a statutory authority.”

Modi had shot off a letter in June 2011 to the High Court chief justice to re-consider Justice Mehta’s name in view of reports stating his association with certain NGOs and social activist groups, antagonists to the state government.

The chief justice had, however, termed Modi’s apprehensions as either irrelevant or not factually correct.

In its verdict, the court also disapproved the “harsh language” used by a third judge, against the chief minister who was a constitutional authority, like Modi demonstrated “deconstruction of democracy.”

The matter was referred to a third judge in the High Court following a split verdict in a division bench in the petition filed by the Gujarat government challenging the governor’s decision.


Go to Top

Photo Gallery
Rishi Nair of Florida bites his metal after winning the 2016 National Geographic Bee...

Rishi Nair of Florida bites his metal after winning the 2016 National Geographic Bee...

Vehicles moving on a road during a dust storm in Bikaner...

Vehicles moving on a road during a dust storm in Bikaner...

Buddhist monks protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Thursday against killing of Tsering Tempa...

Buddhist monks protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Thursday against killing of Tsering Tempa...

College girls dressed in traditional attire perform cultural show during anniversary of NDA govt...

College girls dressed in traditional attire perform cultural show during anniversary of NDA govt...

Models walk on a ramp during fashion show of students of National institute of fashion technology...

Models walk on a ramp during fashion show of students of National institute of fashion technology...

President Pranab Mukherjee garlanding the bust of Tagore at Peking University...

President Pranab Mukherjee garlanding the bust of Tagore at Peking University...

Women of a tribal community take part in pitcher race during a tribal festival in Birbhum district..

Women of a tribal community take part in pitcher race during a tribal festival in Birbhum district..

The stray nilgai calf that was running frenzied near the Parliament House being rescued...

The stray nilgai calf that was running frenzied near the Parliament House being rescued...

A baby monkey continue to suckle as its mother try to quench its thirst from a drinking water tap...

A baby monkey continue to suckle as its mother try to quench its thirst from a drinking water tap...

World leaders at the start of the second working session of the G-7 summit meetings in Shima...

World leaders at the start of the second working session of the G-7 summit meetings in Shima...

Copyright 2014, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523