The Gujarat High Court on Monday directed the State government to remove the name of the Governor from the list of respondents in the Lokayukta appointment case. It asked the government to file a fresh petition challenging the appointment of retired High Court judge R.A. Mehta as the Lokayukta.
The hearing of the case would now be taken up on September 5 instead of Tuesday (August 30), a division bench of the High Court comprising Justices Akil Kureshi and Sonia Gokani said.
Hearing a Public Interest Litigation petition filed by Bhikhabhai Jethawa demanding that the High Court issue a directive to the government to disclose the “status” of the appointment of the Lokayukta and the subsequent petition by the State government challenging Justice Mehta's appointment to the post by Governor Kamala Beniwal last week, the division bench ruled that under the Constitution the Governor could not be “dragged into the court.”
The State government questioned the Governor's powers to appoint a Lokayukta bypassing it and named the Governor and Justice Mehta as the two respondents in the case.
The High Court said the name of the Governor as a respondent must be removed before it could take up the hearing. The Governor enjoyed immunity from court proceedings under the Constitution.
State Cabinet spokesman and Health Minister Jaynarayan Vyas, while refusing to comment on the court order, said the government would file a fresh petition as directed. But it would not withdraw the case against the appointment “bypassing” the State government, which was “against the spirit of the Constitution and democracy.”
Keywords: Gujarat Lokayukta