Gujarat high court today rejected petitions seeking contempt of court proceedings against chief minister Narendra Modi for making public his letter to the Prime Minister, seeking recall of governor on the issue of appointment of Lokayukta.
Bhikabhai Jethwa had filed a petition against Modi for writing a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the appointment of the Lokayukta in September and getting it published in media when the matter was sub-judice as the government had challenged the appointment in High Court.
The division bench of Justice Akil Kureshi and Justice Sonia Gokani, however, observed that writing of the letter by the chief minister was not intended to interfere in the due course of justice. "Hence, we do not find any reason to entertain the petition seeking contempt of court proceedings against the chief minister or issue any notice in this regard," the court said.
Another petition on the same issue was filed by an NGO Jan Sangarsh Manch through its lawyer Rajesh Mankad. On August 2011, Gujarat Governor Kamla had appointed retired Justice R A Mehta as the Lokayukta of the state, bypassing the elected state government.
The post was vacant for the past seven years. A few days later, Modi wrote the letter, in which, he said the Governor has "wrongly appropriated" the function of the duly elected state government which is a "major subversion" of the Constitution. The court said most of the contentions of the letter (written by Modi) form a part of the state's averments in the petition challenging the Lokayikta's appointment by the Governor. The court also said that the petitioners have not been affirmatively able to assert that the chief minister leaked the letter to the media or it was circulated under his instructions or directions.