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Posts Tagged ‘Lokayukta in Gujarat’

Narendra Modi's preferences on who should be ombudsman. . .

In Commentary on September 5, 2011 at 12:48 pm

From: twocircles.net

Why did Modi prefer Justice (retd) J R Vora for Lokayukta post ?

5 September 2011 – 9:48pm

By TCN Special Correspondent,

Ahmedabad: Why did Chief Minister Narendra Modi prefer Justice (retd) J R Vora for the post of Lokayukta in the state and is now gunning down state governor Kamla Beniwal who appointed Justice (retd) R A Mehta.

Sources say that Vora was preferred by Modi because as a member of a division bench of the Gujarat high court, he had upheld the verdict of the Vadoara fast track court, acquitting all the accused involved in the Best Bakery mass massacre case of 2002 communal riots. Later on, the accused were tried by a court in Mumbai on the intervention of the Supreme Court and all of them were awarded punishment.

The sources in the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) say that Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court S J Mukhopadhyay had first recommended the name of Justice (retd) S D Dave on December 31, 2010. The governor, as per established tradition, sent the recommendation to the state government. However, Modi did not approve the name of Justice(retd) Dave.

Sources say that Modi on February 21, 2011, wrote a letter to CJ disapproving the name of Dave and instead suggested the name of Vora. But CJ replied that Vora could not be appointed as he was already functioning as the director of the Gujarat State Judicial Academy.

While all this was going on, Dave wrote to CJ saying he was not interested to be appointed as Lokayukta. But CJ looked for another person. This time he recommended the name of Justice(retd) R A Mehta. But Modi on June 16 expressed his reservations about Mehta. He again suggested the name of Vora. But on August 2, CJ wrote a strong-worded letter to CM saying that his reservations had no justification.

“I personally tried to investigate about Mehta but I have found nothing that can make him ineligible for the post of Lokayukta in Gujarat. The fact is that he has a high reputation, great integrity and his neutrality is well acclaimed, besides the fact that he has not shown any aspiration to any government post whether central or state’’, CJ said in the letter accessed by mediapersons.

This letter, sources say, was directly sent to Modi and a copy of it to the state governor as well.

Convinced that CJ would not oblige, the state government, sources say, tried to bring about an ordinance amending the Gujarat Lokayukta Act, 1986, with a view to cut down the role of CJ in Lokayukta appointment.

Sources say that the state government prepared the ordinance on August 18 and wanted governor’s assent. But the governor pre-empted the move by appointing Mehta as Lokayukta on August 25. Though the state government then moved the high court but the latter refused to grant stay on it.

BJP double speak on ombudsman; High court raps Modi govt on Lokpal

In Uncategorized on September 3, 2011 at 6:01 pm

[two articles follow.]

From: The Tribune (Chandigarh)

BJP double speak on ombudsman

Anita Katyal

Our Political Correspondent

New Delhi, September 2 [2011]

There is a clear contradiction in the stand taken by the BJP on the selection process of the Lokpal at the Centre and the Lokayukta in Gujarat.

Pointing out various shortcomings in the government’s Lokpal Bill, the BJP had expressed serious misgivings about the dominance of government representatives on the selection committee which is to recommend names for the ombudsman’s post. This was one of the main objections which the BJP speakers raised during last week’s debate on the Lokpal Bill in Parliament.

But the BJP is silent on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s attempts to amend the Lokayukta Act in the state, giving the government greater say in the appointment of the ombudsman.

The Modi government had sent an ordinance to Gujarat governor Kamal Beniwal on August 18 proposing the constitution of a committee which would empower the Chief Minister to recommend the Lokayukta’s name. In fact, the selection process suggested by Modi is much on the lines provided for in the official Lokpal Bill at the Centre.

Beniwal refused to give her assent to the ordinance and instead went ahead with the appointment of a Lokayukta which has sparked off a fierce confrontation between the BJP and the Congress with the saffron party disrupting Parliament and petitioning President Pratibha Patil for the Governor’s removal.

According to the ordinance, the government suggested that the selection committee for the appointment of the Lokayukta should be headed by the CM and comprises the leader of opposition and a private member from among the citizens.

The present Lokayukta Act do not give the Chief Minister or the state government any direct role in the selection of the ombudsman.

Instead, sub-section one of the Act lays down that the Governor has the powers to appoint a Lokayukta after consultations with the Chief Justice of the High Court and the leader of opposition.

While Modi wants to have a say in the appointment of a Lokayukta, the BJP leadership in Delhi has slammed the official Lokpal Bill for giving excessive representation to government nominees on the selection panel. Hitting out at the government during last week’s debate, Sushma Swaraj, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, had pushed for greater balance with inclusion of both government and non-government members.

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TwoCircles.net, 19 August 2011

HC slap on Modi govt, asks ‘why no Lokpal for seven years’

By TCN Special Correspondent,

Ahmedabad: Gujarat high court notice asking the state government why it has not appointed a Lokayukta for the last seven years has come as a tight slap on the face of chief minister Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party which is supporting Anna Hazare’s movement for a Jan Lokpal at the centre.

The notice was issued on Thursday by a division bench comprising Justices Aqil Qureshi and Sonia Gokani on a petition filed by Bhikhabhia, father of slain RTI activist Amit Jethwa. Jethwa was shot dead outside the high court premises in July 2010.

Citing a provision of the Gujarat Lokayukta Act, 1986, which says that the Lokyukta cannot inquire into the complaints of more than five years old, the petitioner said that since there was no ombudsman in the state since November 2003, it meant that complaints of irregularities and corruption against chief minister and ministers pertaining to actions taken by them before November 2006 could not be entertained and these influential would go scot-free.

The petitioner mentioned that huge tracts of land in coastal areas of Kutch district had been allotted to Adanis and other corporate houses in the last six to seven years without following proper procedures. Going by the provisions in the Gujarat Lokayukta Act, the chief minister and ministers who misused their powers to extend benefits to industrial houses could not be held accountable for it whenever the next Lokyukta was appointed.

The petitioner pointed out that there was no other machinery available to hold ministers and other government functionaries accountable for their omissions and commissions. With no Lokyukta since November 2003, it meant that all the ministers and senior bureaucrats having violated the norms would go scot-free.

Bhikhabhai had filed a similar application in 2010 as well. However, his petition was disposed of by the high court after AAG Tushar Mehta told the court on July 16, 2010, that the state government had begun the process to appoint a Lokayukta. He had assured the court that the Lokayukta would be appointed in three months. But a year has passed since then, there is no Lokyukta in the state.

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