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Gujarat questions governor's mandate in apex court

Posted on Nov 07, 10:00PM | IANS

The Gujarat government Wednesday urged the Supreme Court to refer to a larger bench the question whether Governor Kamla Beniwal could have appointed the Lokayukta while bypassing Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his ministers.

Former Gujarat High Court judge R.A. Mehta was appointed Lokayukta Aug 25 last year.

Senior counsel K.K. Venugopal, appearing for Gujarat, told the apex court bench of Justice B.S. Chauhan and Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla that the matter be referred to a large bench to determine the constitutional mandate of the governor.

Solicitor General Rohinton Nariman opposed the plea saying that such a course would deprive the state of a Lokayukta for many years.

"As it is Gujarat does not have Lokayukta since 2003 and if the matter was referred to the larger bench then it would mean that the state would not have Lokayukta, God knows for how many years," Nariman said.

He told the court that it could decide the issue whether there was consultation prior to the appointment of Mehta on the basis of facts and the question whether the governor could act independently be left for the larger bench to decide.

Nariman, assisting the court and also representing Beniwal, contested the Gujarat government's claim that Mehta was appointed without completing the process of consultation.