A day after the Gujarat high court slammed Narendra Modi for creating a "constitutional mini-crisis," the state government on Thursday challenged the verdict before the Supreme Court.
In its appeal, filed through counsel Mahesh Agarwala, the state contended HC had failed to appreciate that the warrant issued by the Governor to appoint Justice (retd) RA Mehta as the Lokayukta "suffered from the basic constitutional infirmity."
It sought to set aside the HC verdict and contested its conclusion that there was a deadlock between the Chief Minister (CM) and Chief Justice, forcing the Governor to issue the warrant. Modi government claimed the consultation process to appoint the Lokayukta was still under consideration with the Chief Justice.
On January 18, the HC had upheld the appointment of Justice Mehta as state's Lokayukta. The judgment was pronounced by a single bench following a split verdict by a division bench last year. It also observed that in wake of the circumstances created by Modi, Governor's intervention - "an extraordinary remedy" - was required.
Expressing strong reservations over use of "very harsh expressions" against Modi, the appeal has given a detailed history of how the controversy over Lokayukta's appointment has brewed over the past five years.
Team Anna welcomes HC criticism of Modi
In an apparent bid to fight the pro-BJP tag, Team Anna welcomed the HC order rapping Modi. "It is unfortunate that the Gujarat government did not appoint a Lokayukta for so long and the government is still resisting the appointment of a Lokayukta who has been selected by the Chief Justice of the HC," the Team said.