Lokayukta appt: Contempt plea against Modi | india | Hindustan Times
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Lokayukta appt: Contempt plea against Modi

india Updated: Sep 05, 2011 20:20 IST

A contempt of court petition was filed in the Gujarat high court on Monday against chief minister Narendra Modi for writing to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the Lokayukta issue, while the state's petition on this was being considered by the high court.

Petitioner Anand Yagnik said that Modi, in his letter to the Prime Minister, sought an annulment of the Lokayukta's appointment at a time when a plea related to the issue was before the court.

Governor Kamla Beniwal appointed retired judge R A Mehta as Gujarat's Lokayukta last month, a choice on which the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has reservations, making it move the hight court.

The court on Monday adjourned hearing till Sep 7.

Advocate Vijay Nagesh said that as the governor could not be a respondent to the petition, Beniwal's name had been removed. Now the first respondent would be Mehta and second, the registrar general of the high court.

The state had sought to make the governor a respondent. A division bench comprising justice Akil Kureshi and justice Sonia Gokani had asked the government to file an amended petition as its plea could not be accepted under Article 361 of the Constitution.

On August 25, governor Beniwal appointed justice R A Mehta as the state Lokayukta bypassing the state government. The governor said that she could not remain a "mute spectator" to happenings in the state.

For over seven years, the post of Lokayukta has been lying vacant in Gujarat. Even in June 2011, the chief justice recommended the name of retired justice R A Mehta. The state government asked him to rethink his choice, but the same name came up again Aug 2.

The Gujarat high court had issued a notice to the state government in a public interest litigation pleading for the appointment of a Lokayukta. It was filed by Bhikhu Jethva, father of Right To Information (RTI) activist Amit Jethava who was shot dead opposite the Gujarat high court last year.

Amit Jethava had also filed a similar PIL in the high court. The state government had then said that the process was nearing completion but nothing came of it.