SC judgements on Guj Lokayukta, Karna Upa Lokayukta conflicting: BJP

BJP on Monday claimed that the "conflicting" Supreme Court judgements on the appointment of Gujarat Lokayukta and Karnataka Upa Lokayukta have created "ambiguity" which needed to be removed to bring clarity on the issue of consultation process in appointing the ombudsman.

"Within a period of nine days two clearly conflicting opinions on the appointment of Lokayukta and Upa Lokayukta have been expressed by the Supreme Court. How can the law in Gujarat be different than the law in any other state," Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley asked.

In a big blow to the Narendra Modi government, the apex court on January 2 had upheld the appointment of Justice (retd) R A Mehta as Gujarat Lokayukta by Governor Kamla Beniwal, while noting that the post lying vacant for nine years reflected a "very sorry state of affairs".

And on January 11, the apex court had set aside the appointment of Justice (retd) Chandrashekaraiah as Upa Lokayukta of Karnataka on the ground that he was appointed by the government without consultation with the Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court.

The apex court held that the consultation with the Chief Justice is mandatory before appointment of Upa Lokayukta and the Chief Minister did not hold any "meaningful" consultation with the Chief Justice.

Jaitley said the reasoning given in the Karnataka Upa Lokayukta judgement that the scheme of the two acts is different, does not appear to be "sound" as both the laws contemplate consultation by the Chief Minister with various consultees including the Chief Justice of the high court concerned.

Much to the contrary, the scheme of both the acts is almost identical, Jaitley wrote in an article released by the BJP.

"Two diametrically opposite views leaves me as a legislator in doubt. On a future date, if Parliament provides for a collegium to appoint the Lokpal, will the Chief Justice be merely a consultee and a participant or will his opinion have primacy and be binding on the other members of the collegium?

... contd.

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