Ahmedabad: In a major setback to the Narendra Modi government, the Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the appointment of Justice RA Mehta as the Gujarat Lokayukta. Governor Kamla Beniwal had appointed Justice Mehta as the state Lokayukta in August 2011, after the post had remained vacant for eight years.
CM Narendra Modi, however, had appealed against this appointment claiming that the appointment was unconstitutional as Beniwal had appointed Mehta without consulting him and the state Cabinet.
A bench of justices BS Chauhan and FM Ibrahim Kalifulla dismissed the Gujarat government's plea saying that the Governor is bound to act under the advice of the Council of Ministers, but the appointment of Justice Mehta is right as it was done in consultation with the Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court.
The apex court said that Justice Mehta can go ahead with his work as Lokayukta.
When asked whether he was relieved with the ruling, Justice Mehta refused to comment. He said, "I have no comments. There is no question of feeling relief, I was indifferent to this whole thing."
In January, the Gujarat High Court had upheld Justice Mehta's appointment, after a division bench gave a split decision on the legitimacy of the Governor's action in appointing Justice Mehta as Lokayukta.
The division bench of the High Court had given the split verdict on the appointment issue on October 11, 2011. While Justice Akil Kureshi had upheld the decision of the Governor, Justice Sonia Gokani had quashed the warrant of appointment terming it to be unconstitutional.
With additional information from PTI