Govt asks Lokayukta to take charge

A day after the Supreme Court upheld the appointment of Justice (retired) R A Mehta as the Lokayukta of Gujarat, the state government has officially approached Mehta requesting him to take charge of the office.

Meanwhile, Mehta, on his part, said he has not decided as yet on when to take charge.

Advocate General Kamal Trivedi and a secretary-level officer of the General Administration Department (GAD) visited Mehta at his residence Thursday. Confirming this, Mehta said, "They requested me to take charge of the Lokayukta office on behalf of the state government."

Top GAD official Harsh Brahmbhatt said the Advocate General and secretary (personnel) of GAD had gone to see Mehta and requested him to take charge of the office. Trivedi could not be contacted.

Mehta was appointed in August 2011 by Governor Kamla Beniwal, who overruled the state government led by Chief Minister Narendra Modi. This had resulted into a landmark legal fight over Mehta's appointment, which ended Wednesday when the Supreme Court upheld the appointment and dismissed the state government's appeal.

Jaitley slams Supreme Court verdict

In a stinging criticism of the Supreme Court's verdict on the appointment of Gujarat Lokayukata, top BJP leader Arun Jaitley Thursday strongly objected to the court's reasoning granting primacy to the opinion of the High Court Chief Justice, saying this logic gives "exclusivity" to the Chief Justice rendering opinions of the Chief Minister and the Leader of Opposition "completely redundant and otiose" which is fraught with risks for the constitutional balance of power.

"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'. The net and inevitable consequence of the reasoning offered by the judgment is that the opinion of the Chief Justice of the High Court prevails. The opinion of the other constitutional authorities such as the Chief Minister, the Leader of Opposition is not relevant. They are unsuitable to give an opinion on retired judges. Only judges can opine on judges," Jaitley said in a signed article "to protest against the usurpation of executive powers of an elected government".

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