Declare Shah panel illegal: PIL

Court

A PIL filed in the Gujarat High Court today sought to declare the appointment of the Justice Shah Commission, probing corruption charges against the Narendra Modi government, as illegal saying it was meant to "avoid an enquiry by the Lokayukta".

Citing the recently delivered Supreme Court judgement, Mohammed Suleman Rehmatkhan Pathan claimed in his petition that the Modi government set up the enquiry commission under the Commission of Enquiry Act to avoid an enquiry by the Lokayukta.

The commission was formed on August 17, 2011 to probe into 17 charges of alleged corruption against the state administration involving more than Rs 1 lakh crore.

Referring to the Supreme Court judgement delivered early this month, Pathan pointed out that with the appointment of such an enquiry commission, the Lokayukta is restrained from proceeding with those cases that the Commission has been appointed to look into, under the provisions of state Lokayukta Act.

The petitioner referred to the Supreme Court judgement which observed in connection with the appointment of M B Shah Commission, "It is pertinent to note that, in order to avoid an enquiry by the Lokayukta, an enquiry commission was set up under the Commission of Enquiry Act by the state government..."

Pathan has also demanded a stay on the functioning of the Shah Commission till the final disposal of the petition.

On January 2, the Supreme Court rejected the plea of the Gujarat government, challenging the high court order upholding the governor's unilateral decision to appoint Justice (retired) R A Mehta as the new Lokayukta in the state, after a gap of almost 10 years.

Hearing on the PIL is likely to be taken up in two weeks in the court of Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala.

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