Invoking her special powers, Gujarat governor Dr Kamla has appointed a retired judge of the Gujarat high court state lokayuta without waiting for a recommendation from the state government.
This has prompted the state government to seek legal redress in the matter.
The Gujarat government, headed by Narendra Modi, had left the lokayukta’s office vacant since 2004.
The state government has approached the high court, challenging Justice RA Mehta’s appointment, for which the Raj Bhawan issued notification on Thursday evening.
The court has asked the state government to verify whether the governor could be impleaded (sued) and posted it for further hearing on August 30.
The court has also refused to grant a stay on the appointment, which the state government has dubbed “unconstitutional”. Assembly leader of opposition Shaktisinh Gohil told the media a notification to this effect was issued by the governor in pursuance of the powers vested in her office after directions to the state government on this were not heeded.
“Justice Mehta’s name was suggested by the chief justice of the Gujarat high court after consultations with the governor and the leader of the opposition,” Gohil said, stressing that in accordance with the Gujarat State Lokayukta Act, 1986, the state government had no role to play in the selection and appointment.
Reacting to the governor’s move, Gujarat government spokesperson Jaynarayan Vyas said the move “was not in the spirit of the Constitution. The entire government has been bypassed in the matter”.
The state government was thinking of introducing an ordinance, seeking amendment in the act.
The Gujarat cabinet has also set up a five-member cabinet committee to study the lokpal legislation after it is passed by Parliament and amend the state lokayukta act in accordance with it.