Gandhinagar: The new Gujarat Lokayukta Aayog Bill 2013, which the state government is all set to bring in the Assembly next week, seeks to completely curtail the 'primacy' of the Chief Justice of the High Court in the appointment of Lokayukta or Up-lokayukta in the state.
    
Narendra Modi-led government, after losing the judicial battle against the appointment of justice (retired) RA Mehta made by Governor Kamla Beniwal, has also planned to keep Governor away from the selection or 'consultation' process of the new Lokayukta and/or Up-lokayukta in the state.
    
Section 3 of the proposed multi-member Lokayukta Aayog Bill, which also intends to repeal the current Gujarat Lokayukta Act of 1986, proposes to give all the powers of the appointment to a selection committee headed by the Chief
Minister and wants the Governor to act on the recommendations of this committee.
    
"For the purpose of conducting investigations and enquiries in accordance with the provisions of this Act, the Governor shall, by warrant under his hand and seal and, on the recommendations of a Selection Committee as provided below, appoint a person to be known as the Lokayukta and not more than four other persons each to be known as Up-Lokayuktas," reads the proposed section 3 of the Bill.
    
Whereas in the existing Gujarat Lokayukta Act, power of selection and consequent appointment of new Lokayukta has been vested in the hands of High Court Chief Justice and the Governor.
    
Section 3(1) of the existing Act says, "For the purpose of conducting investigation in accordance with the provisions of this Act, the Governor shall, by warrant under his hand and seal appoint a person to be known as Lokayukta. Provided that the Lokayukta shall be appointed after consultation with the Chief Justice of High Court."
    
Significantly, both Gujarat High Court, with its 2-1 majority judgement and Supreme Court has upheld the primacy of the opinion of Chief Justice of High Court in the appointment of Lokayukta and had rejected Gujarat Government's petition challenging the appointment of Mehta by the state Governor.

Further intending to curb the role of the Chief Justice of HC, state government has not even included the Chief Justice in the selection committee. As proposed in the section 3(2) of the bill, Chief Minister would be the Chairperson of the selection committee while Speaker of the Assembly, one minister nominated by the Chief Minister, Leader of the Opposition and Vigilance Commissioner of the state would be members of this committee.

(Agencies)

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