The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday rejected petitions seeking contempt of court proceedings against Chief Minister Narendra Modi for making public his letter to the Prime Minister seeking recall of Governor on the issue of appointment of Lokayukta.
Activist Bhikabhai Jethava had filed a petition against Modi for writing a letter to the PM over the appointment of the Lokayukta in September and allegedly leaking its contents to the media even as the matter was sub-judice since the government had challenged the appointment in the HC.
The division bench of Justice Akil Kureshi and Justice Sonia Gokani,however,observed that writing of a letter by the CM was not intended to interfere in the course of justice. Hence,we do not find any reason to entertain the petition seeking contempt of court proceedings against the CM or issue any notice in this regard, the court said.
Another petition on the same issue was filed by an NGO Jan Sangarsh Manch.
On August 2011,Gujarat Governor Kamla Beniwal had appointed Justice (retired) R A Mehta as the Lokayukta of the state,bypassing the state government. The post has been lying vacant for the past seven years.
A few days later,Modi wrote a letter to the PM saying the Governor had wrongly appropriated the function of the duly elected state government which is a major subversion of the Constitution.
The court said most of the contentions of the letter (written by Modi) form a part of the states averments in the petition challenging the Lokayiktas appointment by the Governor.
The court also said the petitioners were affirmatively able to assert that the chief minister leaked the letter to the media or it was circulated under his instructions or directions.
Jethavas lawyer Anand Yagnik later said they would challenge the order in the Supreme Court.