Gujarat HC upholds appointment of Lokayukta by Governor

Ahmedabad, Jan 18, 2012, (PTI) *In a setback to the Narendra Modi
government, the **Gujarat** High Court, in a majority decision, today
upheld the appointment of Lokayukta by the Governor while dismissing the
plea of the state challenging it.*

Justice V M Sahai, who was given the task of hearing the petition
challenging the appointment of Lokayukta following the split verdict of a
division bench, said, "I could not agree with Justice Sonia Gokani of the
division bench on the points of difference, which were referred to me."

In his verdict, he said, "I concur with the views of my brother judge Akil
Kureshi had upheld the appointment of Lokayukta calling it as
"Hence, the government petition is dismissed", the court said.

Gujarat Governor Kamla Beniwal had appointed retired Justice R A Mehta to
the post of Lokayukta on August 25, last year. The post had been lying
vacant for eight years prior to that.

The Gujarat government, led by Chief Minister Modi, had gone all out to
oppose the appointment of Lokayukta by the Governor for "bypassing the
state government".
The government had challenged the appointment the very next day in the High
Court and had also unleashed a political campaign against the Governor.

Earlier, on October 11, a division bench of the High Court had given a
split verdict on the appointment issue.

While Justice Kureshi had upheld the decision of the Governor, Justice
Gokani had quashed the warrant of appointment issued by the Governor
terming it to be unconstitutional.

*Modi gets contempt breather*

Mail Today/ Ahmedabad

THE GUJARAT High Court on Tuesday dismissed an application seeking contempt
of court proceedings against CM Narendra Modi for making public his letter
to PM Manmohan Singh seeking recall of the governor on the issue of the
Lokayukta’s appointment.

In its ruling, the court observed that the letter written by the chief
minister did not amount to contempt of court.

Two lawyers, Mukul Sinha and Anand Yagnik, had moved the court after Modi
wrote to the PM on September 1 and demanded the removal of Kamla Beniwal as
the governor. He had also sought the annulment of Beniwal’s order
appointing justice R. A. Mehta as the Lokayukta. The complainants had
accused Modi of “ deliberately sharing the letter with the press” and thus
influencing the proceedings of the Lokayukta matter in the court.