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SC defers hearing on appointment of Gujarat Lokayukta

New Delhi, Fri, 03 Feb 2012 ANI

New Delhi, Feb 3 (ANI): Supreme Court on Friday deferred the hearing on the Gujarat Government petition of over the appointment of state Lokayukta, retired judge R A Mehta, to March 20.


Mahagujarat Janata Party Chief Govardhan Bhai who had filed Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in support of the appointment told reporters that they backed the governor's decision to appoint Mehta as the state ombudsman.


"We do support whatever decision the governor has taken and as per the Gujarat Lokayukta Act and we defend the act. The court has told today that we will be heard on March 20. No stay has been given as of today," said Bhai.


On January 18, Narendra Modi, faced a major blow as Gujarat High Court upheld Governor Kamla Beniwal's decision to appoint Mehta as the state ombudsman.


Congress leader Shakti Singh Gohil accused Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on charges of corruption and said that he feared that the state ombudsman would indict him.


"Narendra Modi who has done more corruption than the former Karnataka Chief Minister Yeddyurappa, is afraid that he would emerge out as Modirappa in public and everybody would come to know about his corruption. And this is the only reason that is why there was no Lokayukta appointed in Gujarat from the past eight and half years," said Gohil.


A defensive Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) went into a huddle and held Beniwal responsible for acting in an unconstitutional manner, as she had not consulted the state government before appointing the ombudsman in the state.


"The governor has acted going beyond the constitution. This step was assault on the Constitution of India and on the federal character of the country. We are happy that the Supreme Court has taken cognisance of the whole thing and has issued notices to the parties concerned," said BJP spokesperson Balbir Punj.


The office of the state ombudsman was vacant for more than seven years, after the retirement of S M Soni in 2003.


Rift emerged between Modi government and the governor after the former alleged breach of the term of the constitution as Beniwal had failed to act on the advice of the council of ministers under Article 163 and had appointed Justice Mehta as the state ombudsman in August last year.


In October last year, two judges of the High Court announced a split verdict and eventually the case was referred to a third judge, Justice Sahai. (ANI)


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