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Jolt for Modi, Governor’s decision upheld

New Delhi: In a big jolt to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi the Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed Gujarat government's plea challenging Governor Kamla Beniwal's decision to appoint Justice (retd) R A Mehta as Gujarat's Lokayukta.

A bench of justices B S Chauhan and F M Ibrahim Kalifulla rejected the state’s appeal against the order of the Gujarat High Court, which had upheld the governor's decision last January.

The High Court's verdict had been delivered by Justice V M Sahai after a division bench gave a split judgement on the legitimacy of the governor's action in Justice Mehta's appointment as Lokayukta.

Justice Sahai, who decided the matter as a third judge, had also pulled up Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for creating a constitutional crisis and held that the governor had the discretionary power to make the appointment. He had said the "pranks" played by the chief minister on the Lokayukta issue "demonstrates deconstruction of our democracy."

Challenging the high court's order, the state government had contended that the personal discretion exercised by the governor in unilaterally issuing the warrant of appointment of Lokayukta was "unwarranted."

It had also objected to the use of "very harsh expressions and language" against Modi by the high court and had sought expunction of those remarks.

The governor had on August 25, 2011 appointed Justice Mehta to the post as Lokayukta, which had been lying vacant for the last eight years.

(Agencies)

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