As per the provisions contained in the Gujarat Lokayukta Act, 1986, the Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court and Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly are required to be consulted for appointment of Lokayukta. In view of this provision, Hon. Chief Minister first consults the Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly and then consults the Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court; thereafter the name for which the consultation process has been undertaken is placed before the Council of Ministers for approval and after such approval, the proposal is submitted to H.E. the Governor for appointment of that person as Lokayukta.As a part of process of appointment of Lokayukta, Gujarat State, Hon. Chief Minister had called a meeting in August, 2006 for consultation with the Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly. Although the Leader of Opposition didn’t have any objection to the name suggested by the Hon. Chief Minister, he suggested that the other names may also be taken into consideration. (Later on the same person, as was suggested by the Hon. Chief Minister for appointment as Lokayukta, Gujarat State, was appointed in the Maharashtra Human Rights Commission by the Congress-ruled Maharashtra Government which shows that the opposition to the name suggested by the Hon. Chief Minister for appointment as Lokayukta, Gujarat State, by the Leader of Opposition was absolutely uncalled for.) After this consultation meeting, Government undertook the process of consultation with the Hon’ble Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court and thereafter the file was put up to H.E. the Governor for approval in August, 2006.
It is important to note that H.E. the Governor did not take any decision on the file from August, 2006 to February, 2009. In February, 2009, the file was returned to the Government with the note that the person whose name had been recommended for appointment as Lokayukta, Gujarat State could not be appointed as such for certain technical / legal reasons and, therefore, the State Government should make a fresh proposal in this regard.
Government resubmitted the file to H.E. the Governor in July, 2009 wherein it was clarified with the detailed reasons as to how the person whose name had been recommended by the Government could be appointed as Lokayukta, Gujarat State. In September, 2009, the file was returned by H.E. the Governor with the observation that the Government should make a fresh proposal with a new name.
In February, 2010, Government obtained fresh panel of four retired Judges from the Hon’ble Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court. Thereafter, Hon. Chief Minister arranged a meeting on 4.3.2010 for consultation with the Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly, but the Leader of Opposition did not remain present in the meeting and instead, he raised certain objections to Hon. Chief Minister undertaking such consultation process. In fact, the process for appointment of Lokayukta has already been well-established by the precedents and, therefore, there is no Constitutional propriety to raise issues about the consultation process, and yet the Leader of Opposition raised more than one technical / legal issues and avoided to remain present in the consultation meeting with the Hon. Chief Minister. Thereafter, Hon. Chief Minister arranged the consultation meetings with the Leader of Opposition on 5.3.2010 and 22.3.2010 but the Leader of Opposition did not remain present in these meetings. Thus, it can be seen that the predetermined and prejudiced approach of the Leader of Opposition is responsible in the consultation process not being completed.
In the meanwhile, Hon. Chief Minister and the then MoS (Law) met H.E. the Governor on 8.3.2010 and handed over a detailed comprehensive note giving complete details of the legal and Constitutional aspects relating to the subject.
Since the Leader of Opposition did not participate in the consultation process, the Government placed the name of the person proposed to be appointed as Lokayukta, Gujarat State before the Council of Ministers and obtained its approval. Thereafter, the file was put up to H.E. the Governor; however H.E. the Governor did not approve the fresh name also and returned the file on 5.5.2010 with the observation that the Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court should not suggest a panel but should suggest only one name; the one name which he suggests, may be considered by the Government for appointment as Lokayukta after obtaining orders of H.E. the Governor.
The Hon’ble Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court sent a name on 31.12.2010 and the process of consultation between the Government and Hon’ble Chief Justice, Gujarat High Court is going on with reference to this particular name.
It is pertinent to note here that, in the interim, H.E. the Governor had called for the information about the position prevailing in other States in the matter of appointment of Lokayukta. The State Government obtained such information from certain States. The information revealed that in almost all the States the same procedure is being followed as in Gujarat, for appointment of Lokayukta. Such States also include the Congress-ruled States.
Thus, it can be seen from the above details that Govt. of Gujarat has made all the sincere efforts to fill up the vacancy of Lokayukta, Gujarat State, but because of negative approach of the Opposition Party Congress, and despite the well-established procedure, legal and Constitutional provisions as well as precedents, the Congress Party has adopted a predetermined, prejudiced and rigid approach in the matter, which has resulted in the post of Lokayukta, Gujarat State remaining vacant. The Opposition Party Congress is solely and squarely responsible for this situation.
On one hand the Opposition Party Congress is creating all kinds of hurdles, adopting an absolutely intransigent approach as also making misleading representations before H.E. the Governor which not only results in the post of Lokayukta remaining unfilled but also adversely affects the public interest. On the other hand, the Congress Party is trying to create a picture that the Government in not interested in filling the vacancy of Lokayukta. The people of Gujarat and the country should take note of the dual policy of the Congress Party and should also see, in proper perspective, the hyporacy of the Congress Party.