Jait­ley slams SC ver­dict on Gu­jarat lokayukta

Hindustan Times (Patna) - - NATION - HT Cor­re­spon­dent let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

NEW DELHI: Se­nior BJP leader Arun Jait­ley has dis­agreed with the Supreme Court's judg­ment up­hold­ing the ap­point­ment of the Gu­jarat lokayukta, de­spite the Naren­dra Modi government’s op­po­si­tion to it.

Jait­ley said the apex court's ar­gu­ment that the opin­ion of the Chief Jus­tice of the High Court has pri­macy in the ap­point­ment falls foul of the prin­ci­ple of bal­ance of pow­ers. Be­sides, he said, the gov­er­nor has to act on the aid and ad­vice of the coun­cil of min­is­ters in In­dia’s con­sti­tu­tional set up.

The BJP leader con­tended that the ver­dict had cur­tailed the pow­ers of the ex­ec­u­tive and leg­is­la­ture, as the role of the ju­di­ciary is to “in­ter­pret the law and de­cide cases”.

“The judg­ment has evolved the role of the chief jus­tice from be­ing privy to the con­sul­ta­tion process to one of 'pri­macy' and even­tu­ally to 'ex­clu­siv­ity' thus ren­der­ing role of the other con­sti­tu­tional au­thor­i­ties as 'in­signif­i­cant',” Jait­ley said.

He added, “The judg­ment does not stop at that. The di­rect let­ter of the chief jus­tice to the gov­er­nor with­out an ac­com­pa­ny­ing aid and ad­vice of the coun­cil of min­is­ters is now treated as the aid and ad­vice of the coun­cil of min­is­ters…. So in­signif­i­cant is the role of coun­cil of min­is­ters that its dis­sent is treated as an aid and ad­vice to the gov­er­nor.”

In­ter­pret­ing the Gu­jarat Lokayukta Act, Jait­ley said, “The chief min­is­ter must con­sult the chief jus­tice; he must con­sult the Leader of Op­po­si­tion. He must then for­ward the rec­om­men­da­tion to the gov­er­nor who must act on the aid and ad­vice of the coun­cil of min­is­ters.”

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