Jaitley Disagrees With SC Opinion on Gujarat Lokayukta
Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley today said he "seriously disagrees" with the opinion of the Supreme Court on the appointment of the Gujarat Lokayukta and cautioned that courts may use this as a predecent in Lokpal's selection as well.

"As a part of India's legislative and political process, I seriously disagree with the observations of the Supreme Court. The Act framed by the legislature does not give any primacy to the opinion of the Chief Justice," Jaitley said in an article released by BJP.

The Supreme Court had upheld the appointment of Justice (retd.) R A Mehta as the Gujarat Lokayukta though Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his Council of Ministers had opposed it. The apex court accepted the Governor's contention that the High Court Chief Justice was consulted.

BJP has expressed strong objection to the decision.

"The fact that the Chief Justice is an independent constitutional authority does not imply that the Chief Minister or Leader of the Opposition has no constitutional or statutory role particularly when the power to be exercised is an executive function and not a judicial one," Jaitley said.

The BJP leader claimed this decision will have a direct impact on the constitution of the Lokpal. The Rajya Sabha Select Committee on Lokpal has recommended a collegium to choose the ombudsman. It consists of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court as well.

"If the present reasoning of the Supreme Court is correct, the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, the Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha and an eminent jurist will be silent spectators on the collegium because the opinion of the Chief Justice of India would get primacy and exclusivity for the appointment of the chairperson and members of the Lokpal," Jaitley said.

"There cannot be a broad-based mechanism for appointment of Lokpal. By judicial interpretation, the courts will eliminate the role of other constitutional authorities and give to themselves the exclusive power," he said.

The eminent lawyer maintained his intention is not to undermine the judicial institution but he is also "not willing to allow the usurpation of the role of the legislature or the elected government" in administrative matters.

The BJP leader said the law relating to the ombudsman's appointment has no ambiguity. He maintains though it is the Governor who makes the appointment, it is on the aid and advice of the council of ministers. The Governor's role is minimal, he insisted.

"The role of the Governor is a non-activist one. The consultation, therefore, in the name of the Governor has to be made by the Council of Ministers through the Chief minister. It is the Chief Minister who has to consult the Chief Justice of the High Court and the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly," Jaitley said.

He alleged the Gujarat Governor admittedly acted in an unconstitutional manner. "She wanted to usurp the authority of the elected government.... The Governor had decided to act on her own," he said.
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Digression

4/D-107
Jan 07, 2013
08:36 PM

 This same Jaitley (a minister in Vajpayee's cabinet) had vehemently criticized the PRIME MINISTER  for his RAJDHARAM advice to Modi ( for genocide pogrom of 2002) and had ganged up with all the other leaders of BJP   to silence that GREAT STATESMAN POLITICIAN  Vajpayeeji for ever,  That is the credentials of this  socalled LEGAL LUMINARY, who can survive only on the mercy of  EVIL POLITICS.

teepee, kerala
3/D-10
Jan 04, 2013
03:11 AM

The Governor and the CJ have been consulting the CM for 8 years. If the CM's wishes are paramount, there would either be a Lokayukta in the mould of Nanavaty or Raghavan, or the position would be permanently vacant!

Anwaar, Dallas
2/D-1
Jan 04, 2013
12:53 AM

 The Act framed by the legislature does not give any primacy to the opinion of the Chief Justice

This is exactly where the judgment is unclear. If the act does not establish primacy to HC CJ, why did the SC interpret it in such manner? It was not clear from any article I read about this subject how a mishandled act of Governor went on to be ratified by SC just because of this enabling primacy of CJ. 

Kautilya, Washington DC
1/D-82
Jan 03, 2013
09:13 PM

 Jaitley is spot on in his analysis.

Rakhal, Philadelphia
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