Gujarat Governor appoints Lokayukta bypassing govt | india | Hindustan Times
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Gujarat Governor appoints Lokayukta bypassing govt

In an unprecedented move, the Gujarat Governor has appointed Retd Justice R A Mehta as Lokayukta of the state, bypassing the Narendra Modi-led BJP government which had kept the post vacant for the last seven years.

india Updated: Aug 26, 2011 15:50 IST
Mahesh Langa

In an unprecedented move, the Gujarat Governor has appointed Retd Justice R A Mehta as Lokayukta of the state, bypassing the Narendra Modi-led BJP government which had kept the post vacant for the last seven years.

Gujarat leader of opposition Shaktisinh Gohil said that the Governor had to use her special powers to issue the notification appointing Justice Mehta as Lokayukta because the state government had failed to do so. He added that the Chief Justice of Gujarat HC had recommended Justice Mehta's name four months back.

No reaction has come from the state government so far.

"This is unprecedented and a clear confrontation between the state government and constitutional head (Governor) of the state," a retired judge of Gujarat HC told HT.

As per the Gujarat state Lokayukta Act, 1986, it is for the Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court to suggest name of Lokayukta after consultation with Leader of Opposition.

However the Modi government has stressed that the process of appointing Lokayukta is initiated by the state government and then a panel of name is sought from the Chief Justice and from the panel, a name is selected by the state government for the appointment.

Post of Lokayukta in Gujarat is vacant since 2004 after Justice SM Soni's term expired.

Over a last few months, opposition party and civil society organisations have been demanding that Lokayukta be appointed to examine the complaints of wrongdoing and corruption by the ministers and others.

Last year, the Modi government had given a written undertaking in the high court that the process of appointment of Lokayukta was underway. Recently, Bhikhabhai Jethva, father of slain RTI activist Amit Jethva, has approached the court again seeking direction from the court for making the appointment.

The court is scheduled to hear the matter on August 29.