Dr Kamla Too Come In For Criticism
Dhananjay Mahapatra | TNN
New Delhi: Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday lost his grudge battle with governor Dr Kamla over the appointment of Justice (rtd) R A Mehta as Lokayukta, with the Supreme Court on Wednesday upholding her choice and rejecting Modi’s objections as misplaced.
A bench of Justices B S Chauhan and F M I Kalifulla held that the consultation process for appointing the Lokayukta, in which the high court chief justice’s views enjoy primacy, has been completed, and the SC has no cause to reopen the selection procedure.
But if the court criticized Modi for adopting a “my way or highway” approach in opposing Justice Mehta’s name and suggesting other names for Lokayukta, it frowned upon Dr Kamla’s decision not to consult the CM and directly seeking opinions from the Gujarat high court chief justice and attorney general on the appointment. It also ticked off the HC for using immoderate language.
The court, however, rejected allegations of bias against Justice Mehta saying actions of a vigilant citizen in drawing attention to the apprehensions of a minority community cannot be seen as motivated. And while the council of ministers can have a say in the appointment, it ought not to have the final word.
The SC ruling comes as a setback for Modi who has sought to counter criticism that Gujarat did not have a Lokayukta for long by arguing that the appointment was politicized by the governor on the instance of Congress.
The Gujarat government claimed the then leader of opposition in the state Shaktisinh Gohil didn’t attend meetings called to discuss the appointment while the Raj Bhavan named a choice seen to be anti-Modi.
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