Seven years without Lokayukta:Chronology of dates and events reveal fact
Gandhinagar, 29 August, 2011
Following is the state information department release on facts related to the entire Lokayukta controversy in the state. While it is fact that Gujarat had no Lokayukta for last 7.5 years, the details given below throw light on who was responsible for that – then Governor and the leader of opposition can not escape from being responsible for the delay.
Unconstitutional appointment of Lokayukta in Gujarat
Chronology of dates and events
|7.8.2006||Hon’ble Chief Minister held a meeting with the Leader of Opposition in the Gujarat Legislative Assembly, to consult him on the subject of appointment of a suitable person as Lokayukta, Gujarat State.Hon’ble Chief Minister had suggested the name of Justice (Retired) Shri Kshitij R. Vyas and the Leader of Opposition suggested some other names. At the end of discussions, Hon’ble Chief Minister asked whether the Leader of Opposition had any specific objection against the name suggested by him. The Leader of Opposition specifically mentioned that he had no objection to the name suggested by the Hon’ble Chief Minister but he wanted that the names suggested by him should also be taken into consideration.|
|7.8.2006||A letter was sent to Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court as a part of consultation process to know his views on the name suggested by the Hon’ble Chief Minister for appointment as Lokayukta, Gujarat State.|
|8.8.2006||Chief Justice, Gujarat High Court conveyed his consent to the name suggested by the Hon’ble Chief Minister for appointment as Lokayukta, Gujarat State.|
|10.8.2006||The file was sent to H.E. the Governor for appointment of Justice (Retired) Shri Kshitij R. Vyas as Lokayukta, Gujarat State.|
|25.8.2006||H.E. the Governor desired that a copy of the minutes/ record of proceedings of the meeting held with the Leader of Opposition by the Hon’ble Chief Minister on 7.8.2006 may be furnished.|
|13.9.2006||A letter was received from the Raj Bhavan wherein, it was mentioned that H.E. the Governor desired to know the procedure adopted to fulfill the requirement of consultation with the Leader of Opposition and Hon’ble Chief Justice, etc. in the different States like Maharashtra, West Bengal, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa and Tamil Nadu.|
|27.2.2007||The information as called for by H.E. the Governor vide his letter dated 13.9.2006 was sent. Such information was to be obtained from different States and hence it took some time in gathering the information.|
|6.2.2009||H.E. the Governor returned the file with some observations.|
|2.7.2009||The file was resubmitted to H.E. the Governor explaining as to how the provisions of section 24(3) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 do not come in the way of appointment of the person suggested by the Government for appointment as Lokayukta, Gujarat State.|
|10.||10.9.2009||H.E. the Governor returned the file with the following observation:“In view of sub-section (3) of section 6 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, since the person recommended by the Government has held the office of the Chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Maharashtra, the Government’s proposal for his appointment as Lokayukta, Gujarat State cannot be agreed to.”|
|11.||10.9.2009||The then H.E. the Governor sent a letter to Hon’ble Chief Minister mentioning that it was not possible to appoint Shri Kshitij R. Vyas as Lokayukta, Gujarat State in view of the clear provisions of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.He also requested the Chief Minister to send a fresh proposal for appointment of Lokayukta after due consultation with the Chief Justice of the Gujarat high Court and the Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly as per the provisions of section 3(1) of the Gujarat Lokayukta Act, 1986.|
|12.||8.2.2010||A confidential letter was sent by Hon’ble Chief Minister to the Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court requesting him to suggest a panel of three Retired Judges of the High Court of Gujarat as Lokayukta, Gujarat State.|
|13.||24.2.2010||Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court sent the panel of four Retired Judges of High Court of Gujarat for consideration for appointment of Lokayukta, Gujarat State.|
|14.||2.3.2010||A letter was sent by Hon’ble Chief Minister to the Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly to participate in the meeting at 11 am on 4.3.2010 as a part of consultation process for appointment of Lokayukta, Gujarat State.|
|15.||3.3.2010||The Leader of Opposition objected to such process of consultation being initiated by the Hon’ble Chief Minister. He also refused to join the consultation process with Hon’ble Chief Minister.|
|16.||3.3.2010||Hon’ble Chief Minister sent a letter to the Leader of Opposition explaining the legal and Constitutional position obtaining in the matter and once again requested to remain present in the meeting of 4.3.2010.|
|17.||3.3.2010||A confidential letter dated 3.3.2010 was received from H.E. the Governor, wherein she inter alia mentioned that she had deemed it appropriate to initiate the matter of appointment of Lokayukta and had decided to hold consultation with the Leader of Opposition on 4.3.2010 at 10.30 a.m. in her office in Raj Bhavan, Gandhinagar.|
|18.||4.3.2010||The Leader of Opposition sent a letter saying that in the matter of appointment of a Lokayukta, the Chief Minister and the Council of Ministers should not have any say. He also requested the Hon’ble Chief Minister to forthwith terminate the process of consultation initiated by him in the matter.The Leader of Opposition also informed that H.E. the Governor had already initiated the process of consultation with the Leader of Opposition and a meeting for the purpose was to take place at 10.30 a.m. on 4.3.2010.|
|19.||4.3.2010||Hon’ble Chief Minister sent a letter to the Leader of Opposition once again requesting him to participate in the consultation process and to remain present in the meeting at 1 pm on 5.3.2010.|
|20.||4.3.2010||Hon’ble Chief Minister sent a letter to H.E. the Governor wherein, he mentioned that since certain legal and Constitutional issues have been raised in her letter dated 3.3.2010, he considers it necessary to have a discussion on the subject with her. Hon’ble Chief Minister sought suitable date and time for such discussion/ meeting with H.E. the Governor.|
|21.||4.3.2010||Hon’ble Chief Minister held a meeting as per the schedule at 11 am on 4.3.2010 as a part of consultation process. However, the Leader of Opposition did not remain present in the meeting.|
|22.||5.3.2010||A letter dated 4.3.2010 was received from the Leader of Opposition intimating that he had already participated in the consultation process at 10.30 am on 4.3.2010 with H.E. the Governor of Gujarat and in view of the consultation already held by H.E. the Governor of Gujarat, he regretted his inability and unwillingness to be present in the meeting to be held by Hon’ble Chief Minister at 1 pm on 5.3.2010.|
|23.||5.3.2010||Hon’ble Chief Minister held a meeting as per the schedule at 1 pm on 5.3.2010. However, the Leader of Opposition did not remain present.|
|24.||5.3.2010||A letter was received from the Principal Secretary to H.E. the Governor conveying that H.E. the Governor had given the time for the meeting with Hon’ble Chief Minister at 16.00 hrs. on 8.3.2010.|
|25.||8.3.2010||Hon’ble Chief Minister along with the Hon’ble MoS (Law) called on H.E. the Governor and discussed the point at issue at length. Hon’ble Chief Minister also gave a folder containing all the relevant details pertaining to the issue and requested to resolve the issue at the earliest.|
|26.||18.3.2010||With a view to ensuring that the consultation process with the Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly takes place, Hon’ble Chief Minister sent one more letter to the Leader of Opposition intimating him that he (Hon’ble CM) proposed to hold meeting for consultation process at 11 am on 22.3.2010 (Monday). He also inter alia made it clear that it was for the last time that he was making a request to attend the meeting for consultation process in the matter. Hon’ble Chief Minister had also quoted all the relevant judgments of High Courts/ Supreme Court including the relevant and operative portion to emphasize the factual, legal and constitutional position obtaining in the matter.|
|27.||22.3.2010||A letter dated 22.3.2010 received from the Leader of Opposition wherein, he inter aliamentioned that he had already been called for the consultation process by H.E. the Governor on 4.3.2010; the said process was already over; there can never be consultation twice: once by Her Excellency the Governor and second by the Chief Minister and/ or the Council of Ministers.At the end of the letter, the Leader of Opposition mentioned that Hon’ble Chief Minister should not persist in undertaking an exercise of consultation by him which lacks legal, moral and constitutional authority.|
|28.||22.3.2010||Hon’ble Chief Minister held the meeting as per the schedule at 11 am on 22.3.2010 in his office in Vidhan Sabha Complex. However, the Leader of Opposition did not remain present.|
|29.||31.3.2010||The name which was decided by the Hon’ble Chief Minister was placed before the Council of Ministers in the meeting of 31.3.2010. The Council of Ministers gave approval to the name.|
|30.||1.4.2010||The name which was approved by the Hon’ble Chief Minister and the Council of Ministers was sent to H.E. the Governor for obtaining approval.|
|31.||5.5.2010||The file was returned by H.E. the Governor with the observation that in terms of the recent judgment of the Apex court, the Chief Justice of the High Court is not required to send a panel of the names but he has to send only one name. Accordingly, H.E. the Governor has referred the whole matter back to the Chief Justice, Gujarat High Court requesting him to re-examine the matter once again.|
|32.||31.12.2010||The Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court sent the fresh proposal to the State Government recommending only one name for appointment as Lokayukta, Gujarat State.|
|33.||21.2.2011||The Hon’ble Chief Minister sent a letter to the Chief Justice of the Gujarat high Court explaining as to how the process of appointment of Lokayukta could be expedited by appointing the person whose name was recommended earlier by the Government to H.E. the Governor instead of considering a new name.|
|34.||22.3.2011||The Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court sent a letter to Hon’ble Chief Minister saying that he would again request the Government to consider the name recommended by him vide his letter dated 31.12.2010.|
|35.||1.5.2011||The person whose name was recommended by the Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court vide his letter dated 31.12.2010 sent a Fax Message to H.E. the Governor requesting her to recall his nomination.|
|36.||4.5.2011||Hon’ble Chief Minister sent a letter to the Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court requesting him to recommend the name of the person in whose case the whole process of consideration had been gone through by the State Government for appointment as Lokayukta, Gujarat State. The matter is pending with the Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court.|
|37.||7.6.2011||The Chief Justice, Gujarat High Court recommended another name.|
|38.||16.6.2011||Hon’ble Chief Minister wrote to the Chief Justice, Gujarat High Court quoting detailed reasons as to why the name recommended by the CJ was not acceptable.|
|39.||2.8.2011||Chief Justice, Gujarat High Court has sent a letter which was received by the State Government and the State Government, in turn, has addressed a letter dated 18.8.2011 to the Chief Justice reiterating its earlier stand and this letter is still under consideration of the Chief Justice.|
|40.||25.8.2011||Despite the aforesaid developments, to the utter shock and surprise of the State Government, the H.E. the Governor issued the warrant dated 25.8.2011 appointing Justice (Retd.) Mr. R. A. Mehta as Lokayukta, Gujarat State, the copy of which has been received along with a letter dated 25.8.2011 addressed to the Principal Secretary to the Hon’ble Chief Minister on 26.8.2011.|
Here is a good article about Gujarat’s progress. Of course, just as it is customary to touch steps of a temple before entering it, for all the media it has become customary to harp on 2002 riots (result of burning of 59 Hindus by Muslim mobs in a train at Godhra) whenever writing about Gujarat or Narendra Modi.- Moderator
A north-western state offers a glimpse of a possible industrial future for India
SO MANY things work properly in Gujarat that it hardly feels like India. In a factory packed with kit from Germany and China, slabs of rubber and bags of carbon black are turned into tyres. After being X-rayed for imperfections, they will be distributed across India or sent for export within three days. Sandeep Bhatia, a manager for CEAT, the firm that owns the project, says it took only 24 months to complete, including the normally fraught process of buying land. There is constant electricity, gas and abundant water. The state government, he says, kept red tape to a minimum, did not ask for bribes, and does not interfere much now.
The tyre plant is not the only sign of prosperity in Gujarat. A nearby village may have fodder strewn all over its alleys and mice scuttling across shampoo sachets in the local store, but it also has satellite dishes poking up from the roofs and power metres on the wall of every house. Most of the men, the villagers say, work for small industrial firms for a wage about 50% higher than they would get in the fields. The road to Ahmedabad, Gujarat’s main city, is privately operated and boasts four lanes. It passes through a countryside that is visibly industrialising.
With a long coastline and too little rain for decent farming, Gujarat has always been famous for its traders. When it was hived off from Bombay to form a separate state in 1960, “the question was how Gujarat would survive,” says Narendra Modi, who has been chief minister since 2001. These days Gujarat accounts for 5% of India’s population but 16% of its industrial output and 22% of its exports. Its growth has outpaced India’s (see chart) and it wins accolades from business people. A recent comparison of Indian states by McKinsey, a consultancy, waxed lyrical about Gujarat. It might yet play the role of industrial locomotive for the country, as Guangdong province did for China in the 1990s. There is lots of excited talk about exporters switching from China to India. Sanjay Lalbhai, the chairman of Arvind, a textiles maker and clothing retailer based in Ahmedabad, says such a move is “imminent” in his industry.
Chinese-style, big-ticket projects are part of Gujarat’s formula, including refineries and ports, but so are networks of smaller firms and foreign companies which have now achieved critical mass in industries such as cars and pharmaceuticals. The state government uses the usual tricks to try to jump-start growth, including special economic zones. But more important, it has provided the bog-standard things that businesses pray for across India but often do not get—less onerous labour laws, passable roads, reliable electricity and effective bureaucracy.
Against the charge that some people have been left behind, Gujarat can point to reasonable growth in agriculture, helped by irrigation schemes. But the state has a black spot, which dates back to 2002 and an outbreak of sectarian violence. As many as 2,000 people (the official toll is lower) were killed in a month of riots, most of them Muslims. Some say Mr Modi and the state government were complicit in the violence or could at least have done more to stop it.
Might prosperity help heal the wounds? In Juhapura, a district on the outskirts of Ahmedabad dominated by the Muslim minority, a young mason grows angry when asked if he feels lucky to make 250-300 rupees a day ($6-7), saying he only gets work for 15 days a month. Others are more content. A bearded man down the road says his party-decoration business is booming. Behind the till of a shop selling top-ups for mobile phones and stationery for the nearby school, a man in a skull cap says life has undoubtedly improved, although his 82-year-old father, sitting in a deckchair, complains that everything went to the dogs when the British left.
Gujarat could be a vision of India’s future, in which manufacturing flourishes, soaking up rural labour. Its economy is expected to grow by double digits, even as India’s rate slows to 7-8% this year. The state may also be a springboard for Mr Modi, who may contest the national leadership of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, perhaps after state elections due in 2012. Mr Modi is enigmatic on this subject. He has yet to shed his polarising image, but he has at least built up an enviable record on the economy.