Court’s Gujarat Lokayukta order harms federalism: BJP

New Delhi, Jan 18 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Wednesday said the Gujarat High Court’s decision to uphold the appointment of state Lokayukta by the governor was a “setback to federalism”.

“The divided judgment of the Gujarat High Court is a setback to federalism,” Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.
“The governor is a nominee of the central government. If a governor gets primacy over the state government on the appointment of Lokayukta, it amounts to government of India appointing the Lokayukta,” he added.
In a setback for Chief Minister Narendra Modi, the Gujarat High Court Wednesday upheld Justice (retired) R.A. Mehta’s appointment as Lokayukta by Governor Kamla Beniwal. But the state government said it would challenge the verdict in the Supreme Court.
Beniwal had appointed Mehta without consulting the state government.
Speaking at the annual general meeting of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) earlier, the BJP leader attacked the central government, saying that non-Congress ruled states were facing delays in getting legislations enacted as some bills were pending with the governors appointed by the central government.
Jaitley said the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government had ensured that chief ministers of Congress-ruled states were consulted before appointment of governors.
“When the NDA government was in power, we made sure that the home ministry consulted chief ministers before appointing governors, specially in Congress-ruled states. But today, every non-UPA state has half-a-dozen legislations pending with the governor,” Jaitley said.