Jaitley slams SC verdict on Gujarat lokayukta
Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley has disagreed with the Supreme Court's judgment upholding the appointment of the Gujarat lokayukta, despite the Narendra Modi government’s opposition to it.
Jaitley said the apex court's argument that the opinion of the Chief Justice of the high court has primacy in the appointment falls foul of the principle of balance of powers. Besides, he said, the governor has to act on the aid and advice of the council of ministers in India’s constitutional set up.
The BJP leader contended that the verdict had curtailed the powers of the executive and legislature, as the role of the judiciary is to “interpret the law and decide cases”.
“The judgment has evolved the role of the chief justice from being privy to the consultation process to one of 'primacy' and eventually to 'exclusivity' thus rendering role of the other constitutional authorities as 'insignificant',” Jaitley said.
He added, “The judgment does not stop at that. The direct letter of the chief justice to the governor without an accompanying aid and advice of the council of ministers is now treated as the aid and advice of the council of ministers…. So insignificant is the role of council of ministers that its dissent is treated as an aid and advice to the governor.”
Interpreting the Gujarat Lokayukta Act, Jaitley said, “The chief minister must consult the chief justice; he must consult the Leader of Opposition. He must then forward the recommendation to the governor who must act on the aid and advice of the council of ministers.”