The Gujarat High Court on Friday ruled that Governor Kamla Beniwal will take the “final decision” on granting sanction to prosecute minister Purushottam Solanki for his alleged role in a Rs. 400 crore fishing contracts scam.
The court, however, rejected the contempt plea against Chief Minister Narendra Modi over the state government’s refusal to give sanction without the approval of the Governor.
The government had on June 29, 2012 decided against granting sanction to prosecute Mr. Solanki, the Minister of State for Fisheries, on a plea in this regard.
The directions were given on a contempt petition against Mr. Modi and his Council of Ministers for rejecting sanction to prosecute Mr. Solanki without leaving it to the Governor to take a decision.
A Division bench of Justice Jayant Patel and Justice C.L. Soni ordered dropping of names of Mr. Modi and other eight members of the state Council of Ministers from the contempt petition, saying they cannot be personally shown as party for the contempt, but the state Chief Secretary should be made the respondent on behalf of the state.
The court directed the state government to forward all the papers, based on which they have taken a decision not to prosecute Mr. Solanki, to the Governor within a week and asked the Governor to decide on the issue in the next two weeks after she receives the papers.
“The final decision on the issue will be that of Governor,” the court said.
The court criticised the manner in which whole issue had been handled by the state. “Earlier order has specified how the decision should have to be taken, and you have not taken it in such a way,” it said.
In its March 30, 2012 order, the High Court had directed the Gujarat government to decide the plea seeking sanction to prosecute Mr. Solanki under Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, stating that Governor would be the competent authority to take a final decision with aid and advice of the Council of Ministers.