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Gujarat Gets Lokayukta After a Decade

Retired Gujarat High Court Judge D P Buch was today sworn in as the state's fourth Lokayukta, a post that lay vacant for a decade and over which Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Governor Kamla Beniwal were on a collision course for three years.

Justice Buch(retd) was sworn in as the anti-corruption ombudsman at a function in Raj Bhavan by Governor Beniwal in the presence of Modi and Assembly Speaker Vaju Vala.

The post had been lying vacant since the last incumbent Justice R M Soni's term expired in December 2003.

The appointment also came at a time when Modi, who is BJP Prime Ministerial candidate, was facing flak from Congress over the post lying vacant for a long time.

The Opposition party had said Modi had been repeatedly raising the issue of corruption under the Congress-led UPA government, but failed to appoint Lokayukta in his own state.

Justice Buch said he will act according to the law.

"If the complaints are entertainable within the fixed categories (within the Lokayukta Act), then the complaints would be dealt with accordingly," he said.

"However, if the complaint is beyond the purview of the law, the Lokayukta cannot act," he added.

The Modi government, which had been at loggerheads with the Governor since 2011 over the appointment of Lokayukta, on November 27 recommended Justice Buch's name to the post.

A major controversy erupted when the Governor appointed Justice (retd) R A Mehta as Lokayukta on August 25, 2011, without consulting the state government.

This led to a long-drawn legal battle that reached the Supreme Court, which subsequently upheld the Governor's decision.

Another twist came when Justice Mehta declined to take charge of the office in August this year, citing the long legal battle over his appointment and "the government not accepting his objectivity and credibility".

Leader of Opposition Shankarsinh Vaghela, however, could not attend the function since he said he received the invitation only yesterday just a day before the event.

Leader of Opposition Shankarsinh Vaghela, however, could not attend the function as he received the invitation just a day before the event.

"Since the invitation of 11th December, 2013 was received on December 10 afternoon, Vaghela has expressed his regret for not being present for the oath taking ceremony and has sent his congratulations and best wishes to Justice Buch," a statement from Vaghela's office said.

"It is expected that we are informed of such programme at least three days in advance, so that such programme of Govt of Gujarat can be given priority," Vaghela said.

The statement also said that neither Raj Bhavan nor General Administration Department of the state government granted permission to any other Congress leader to be present at the function, due to which no representative from Congress Legislature Party could attend the ceremony as Vaghela had prior engagements in Delhi.

Meanwhile, Justice (retd) D P Buch told PTI that he " will act according to the law."

"If the complaints are entertainable within the fixed categories (within the Lokayukta Act), then the complaints would be dealt with accordingly," he said.

"However, if the complaint is beyond the purview of the law, the Lokayukta cannot act," clarified Buch.

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Digression

15/D-181
Dec 12, 2013
08:53 PM

@ TKP - "If Modi had functioned as chief minister of Gujarat within the limits of (the provisions of) the Constitution of India, I assure you that Modi would not have seen the dawn of 2003, as chief minister of Gujarat.!!!"

What do you mean? That Modi survived beyond 2002 because he has acted outside the ambit of the Indian Constitution? Or are you darkly hinting that someone would have assasinated him (Modi would not have seen the dawn of 2003)?

If you think that Modi has functioned in an unconstitutional manner, what stopped you from appealing to the Supreme Court? Are you implying that the apex courts lack your understanding of the 'provisions' of the Constitution of India? 

D.L.Narayan
Visakhapatnam, India
14/D-175
Dec 12, 2013
07:44 PM

@ 12/D-92.  " He (Modi) has to function within the limits by the Constitution of India ."

Narayan, if you are a 5yr old kid , my apology for reacting. If Modi had functioned as chief minister of Gujarat   within the limits  of (the provisions of) the Constitution of India, I assure you that Modi would not have seen the dawn of 2003, as chief minister of Gujarat.!!!

teekaypee, kerala
13/D-155
Dec 12, 2013
06:09 PM

We saw Toothless Lokayukta in Delhi, Haryana, so better not to have any such ombudsperson...

Jaykumar, Ahmedabad
12/D-92
Dec 12, 2013
11:16 AM

@ TKP - "Another rotting drooping kneeling FEATHER on the crown of a chief minister cum self proclaimed Emperor of INDIASTAN. !!!."

1. India has a self-declared EMPRESS, not an emperor.

2. Modi is only a candidate for prime ministership. He will become only a PM if the people of India, in their collective wisdom, vote for him. So, unlike the present Empress, he is neither self-declared nor is he an Emperor. He has to function within the limits prescribed by the Constitution of India.

D.L.Narayan, Visakhapatnam
11/D-90
Dec 12, 2013
11:05 AM

Another rotting drooping kneeling FEATHER on the  crown of  a chief minister cum self proclaimed Emperor of INDIASTAN. !!!.

teekaypee, kerala
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