Wednesday, September 7, 2011

High court issues notice to justice Mehta, court officials

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat high court on Wednesday issued notices to retired high court judge R A Mehta, the high court registrar general and the principal private secretary to the Chief Justice over the governor bypassing state government while appointing a Lokayukta. Governor Dr Kamla had appointed justice Mehta as the lokayukta, which the state had challenged in the high court.
The government had amended its petition recently and removed the governor’s name as one of the respondents. It had made justice Mehta as first respondent, while the high court decided to make the registrar general and the personal secretary to the chief justice as the other two respondents. The chief justice had been consulted before the Lokayukta had been appointed.
During the hearing, the division bench repeatedly observed that there was a “deadlock” on the issue. It had raised questions of constitutional law and whether the governor had powers to make such an appointment without the advice of the council of ministers. The bench also wanted to know what whould happen if there was no consensus between the government and the governor, and the chief justice’s view in such a situation. The respondents are expected to give their replies by September 21.
Advocate general (AG) Kamal Trivedi reiterated the state government’s stand that the appointment of the Lokayukta was illegal and should be revoked. He alleged that the leader of the opposition party (LoP) and the governor had decided on the appointment without consulting the council of ministers way back on March 3 last year.
The AG blamed the governor for neglecting the issue, wherein “unanimity was in vicinity” on justice J R Vora’s appointment as Lokayukta. The counsel for the high court, Shalin Mehta rubbished this contention saying there was never unanimity. He said there were many objections to his name, and the state government has chosen not to place those records before the court.

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