The Lokayukta appointed by the selection mechanism proposed in the Gujarat Lokayukta Aayog Bill would be nothing more than a caged parrot, Governor Dr Kamla said in stinging remarks against the Narendra Modi government as she returned the bill for reconsideration by the assembly.
The governor, who has been locked in a long legal battle with the state government over appointment of Lokayukta, had declined to give assent to the bill, and returned it to the government on Monday.
“I am of the view that many of the provisions of The Gujarat Lokayukta Aayog Bill are detrimental to the interest of public welfare and the state legislature needs rethinking on the issues mentioned in the interest of people of Gujarat,” the governor said in a seven-page note sent with the bill to the government.
Her note stated that the state-managed selection mechanism proposed in the bill would denigrate the office of Lokayukta, and the very institution would lose all credibility and respect of the people. She described the selection procedure proposed in the bill as faulty.
The bill proposed a six-member selection committee headed by the chief minister, and comprising another minister, assembly speaker, leader of opposition, state’s vigilance commissioner, and a high court judge nominated by chief justice of Gujarat high court in consultation with a collegium of five senior judges.
“Out of the six members, four will be from one political party.
The leader of opposition and high court judge would be in minority and their voice would hardly have any significance, because their objections could be easily overruled,” the note reads.
While stating that the very objective appears to concentrate the entire power of selection of Lokayukta in the hands of the ruling party, Dr Kamla said, “The above provision for appointment of Lokayukta cannot stand the scrutiny of any rationality and is in clear violation of the mandate which has been reflected from several decisions of the Supreme Court from time to time.”
She also criticised the proposed provision for submission of Lokayukta’s report to the competent authority, i.e. the state government.
“In a situation when the Cabinet would be in a position to decide on the report, there is every possibility that it may not accept the report under one excuse or the other and may reject it altogether This is nothing but a mockery of the whole judicial process,” she said.
The governor described as defective the definition of competent authority in the legislation, provisions relating to qualifications for Lokayukta, matters not subject to investigation by the Lokayukta, among others. She also said that there is no need to have two Up-Lokayuktas from administrative background, as proposed in the bill.