A division Bench of the Gujarat High Court has delivered a split verdict on the appointment of the lokayukta by the governor, which the state government had challenged.Now, the verdict of the division Bench would be placed before the chief justice of the high court.
The chief justice would refer it to a third judge, who would conduct a fresh hearing and decide on the validity of the lokayukta appointment.
Governor Kamla Beniwal had appointed Justice RA Mehta, a retired judge of the Gujarat high court, as lokayukta on August 25, bypassing the Narendra Modi government. The government had not filled the position for more than seven years.
Justice Sonia Gokani of the division bench, who had indicated disagreement with the verdict of justice Akil Qureshi on Monday upholding the lokayukta appointment, delivered her judgment on Tuesday.
Justice Gokani quashed and set aside the warrant issued by Beniwal appointing justice Mehta as state lokayukta. She directed the state government to appoint a new lokayukta in four months.
Justice Gokani ruled the consultation process between chief minister Modi and the chief justice regarding the name of the lokayukta was on and had not reached a stage of deadlock.
She also held the governor could not bypass the state government and council of ministers and issue the warrant appointing the lokayukta. "The appointment of Mehta was not in accordance with parliamentary democracy and the governor overreached her powers," she said.
Justice Qureshi had upheld the lokayukta appointment on the ground that the governor had had done it following the recommendation of justice Mehta's name by the then chief justice SJ Mukhopadhya.