The Bill, proposes formation of a selection committee headed by the Chief Minister for the appointment of lokayukta, and the Governor can only appoint a person recommended by the selection committee as Lokayukta, which is not the case in the existing Act. It also does not include chief justice of the Gujarat High Court in the selection committee. Instead, it includes a judge of the High Court who will be nominated by the HC chief justice.
The new bill widens the scope of Lokayukta by including officials of local bodies, besides chief minister and council of minister. It proposes that if a complaint was filed against a minister, the Lokayukta would submit its report with recommendations to the chief minister, who will take action after consulting the council of ministers. However, the bill has not stated what would be the case if the complaint before Lokayukta was made against the chief minister. Under the bill state government will have power to exclude from purview of Lokayukta, persons or officials belonging to public function specified in the definition of the proposed legislature. The Modi administration’s legal battle to stall the appointment of Justice Mehta as the Lokayukta had cost the State Exchequer a whopping Rs 45 crores.
But the Supreme Court had finally upheld the Governor’s choice for the post. Following Justice Mehta relinquishing the post even without taking over, the Gujarat Government had earlier this week sent to the Governor a list of three names to be considered for appointment as the Lokayukta. It is a post that had been lying vacant for the last 10 years. Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly Mr Shankersinh Vaghela has taken objection to the manner in which Mr Narendra Modi is trying to usurp the power to appoint the Lokayukta. According to Mr Vaghela.“The Chief Minister has no right to choose the names for appointment of the Lokayukta.”