SC verdict on Gujarat Lokayukta appointment today

R A Mehta

The Supreme Court will pronounce on Wednesday its verdict on the Gujarat government's plea against the appointment of retired judge R A Mehta as the state's Lokayukta, done unilaterally by Governor Kamla Beniwal without consulting the government.

A bench of justices B S Chauhan and F M Ibrahim Kalifulla is to pass the order on the state's appeal against the order of the Gujarat High Court, which had upheld the Governor's decision last January.

The high court's verdict was delivered by Justice V M Sahai after a division bench gave a split judgment on the legitimacy of the Governor's action.

Justice Sahai, who decided the matter as a third judge, had also pulled up Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for creating a constitutional crisis and held that the Governor had the discretionary power to make the appointment. He had said the "pranks" played by the chief minister on the Lokayukta issue "demonstrates deconstruction of our democracy".

Challenging the high court's order, the state government had contended that the personal discretion exercised by the Governor in unilaterally issuing the warrant of appointment of Lokayukta was "unwarranted."

It had also objected to the use of "very harsh expressions and language" against Modi by the high court and had sought expunction of those remarks.

The Governor had on August 25, 2011 appointed Justice (retired) Mehta as the Lokayukta, a post that had been lying vacant for the last eight years.

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