Gujarat high court refutes Modi's objection to Lokyukta's appointment

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Narendra Modi at the World Economic Forum in India.
Image: Norbert Schiller.

The Gujarat High Court has dismissed chief minister Narendra Modi's petition against the appointment of the Lokayukta without consenting the council of members yesterday. Modi's government has lodged a petition to the Supreme Court of India challenging the decision.

Retired high court justice R A Mehta was appointed as the Lokayukta (an official ombudsman) last August. Soon after, the Gujarat state government objected the appointment in the high court on the grounds a failure to consult the council of ministers was illegal. Further, Modi said that Mehta was unsuitable as some of his views were "anti-Gujarat".

Justice Sonia Gokani backed Modi's objection and called the appointment "unconstitutional" for the governor could act only upon the consent of the council of ministers. Justice Akil Kureshi favoured the appointment citing that Modi was consulted by the chief justice. He stressed on the fact that the post was vacant for seven years.

The case was then judged by justice V M Sahai following the divided opinions of Gokani and Kureshi. Sahai analysed the points of disagreement between Gokani and Kureshi, upholding Kureshi's views. The court dismissed Modi's case accordingly.

Thursday saw Modi's government file a Supreme Court petition challenging the High Court's decision.