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HindustanTimes Fri,25 Apr 2014

New Lokayukta bill will curb power of governor, HC chief justice, alleges Congress

PTI  Ahmedabad, March 23, 2013
First Published: 23:13 IST(23/3/2013) | Last Updated: 23:15 IST(23/3/2013)

The new Lokayukta Aayog Bill set to be moved in the House by the Gujarat government, is aimed at curtailing the power of governor and chief justice of High Court in the appointment of the Lokayukta, state Congress alleged here on Saturday.

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"The new bill, which the government intends to bring, will curtail the power of the state Governor and the chief justice of the High Court in the appointment of the State Lokayukta," Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee chief Arjun Modhwadia said.

"In the earlier bill, the recommendations of the state High Court Chief Justice was considered to be final, on which the state Governor appointed the Lokayukta," Modhwadia said.

In this new bill, a committee headed by the chief minister will have the final say on the appointment of the Lokayukta, he further said.

"Modi government has not allowed appointment of Lokayukta in the state for the last nine years. Even when the Governor appointed a lokayukta on the recommendations of the Chief Justice, they have challenged it in the courts and not allowed the watchdog institute to investigate charges of corruption against this government," the Congress leader said.

The Gujarat government had yesterday announced its intentions to introduce a new Lokayukta Aayog Bill 2013 in the ongoing current state Assembly session.

The new bill, on its enactment, would replace the existing Gujarat Lokayukta Act 1989.

"CM is at present busy taking his Gujarat model to the country and the world. We will expose his government's big model in front of the world to not allow cases of corruption come out by stalling appointment of lokayukta," he further said.

"The Congress will oppose the bill in the assembly and later take the issue to the people of the state," he further said.

A judicial battle had started on the issue of the appointment of Gujarat Lokayukta after Governor Kamla Beniwal went against the advice of the Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the head of the council of ministers and appointed Justice (retd) R A Mehta as the new Lokayukta on August 25, 2011 that was vacant for eight years.

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