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BJP takes Guj Lokayukta issue to Prez

New Delhi: Demanding immediate recall of Gujarat Governor on Lokayukta appointment issue, a delegation of BJP MPs led by L K Advani on Friday met President Pratibha Patil who informed them that the matter is sub-judice.

The BJP delegation led by Parliamentary Party Chief Advani and comprising Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and her Rajya Sabha counterpart Arun Jaitley, contended that even when a matter is sub-judice, the Centre can intervene "to redeem the Constitution" and their demand was valid.

"We most humbly urge upon your Excellency to intervene in the matter and redeem the Constitution and prevent the assault on the federal character of our polity for which it is imperative that the Governor who has failed to discharge her duties in a bipartisan manner be immediately recalled," the BJP said in a memorandum submitted to Patil.

The BJP is up in arms against the appointment of R A Mehta as Lokayukta by Gujarat Governor Kamala Beniwal without consulting Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his council of ministers.

When Advani made the demand on behalf of his party, President Patil said the matter is in court.

Advani told reporters that Jaitley then told Patil that even when a matter is sub-judice, the Centre can intervene and the opposition demand for recall of the governor was valid.

The BJP has contended that under Article 163 of the Constitution, the Governor should act on the aid and advice of the Chief Minister.

In the memorandum, the BJP said Article 3(1) of Gujarat Lokayukta Act, which states that the Governor can appoint a Lokayukta in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court and in consultation with the Leader of Opposition of the State Assembly, should be read with Article 163.

"Constitution does not give the governor the right to appoint Lokayukta. It should be done on the advice of council of ministers. No opinion of the state government was taken. We have come to you to seek your intervention in this matter where the Constitution has been breached…. This is not a discretionary power of the governor," Advani told Patil.

The BJP memorandum alleged that the Governor has brought "serious disrepute" to the office of the Governor and her continuance would only further "demean and denigrate this august office".

"We urge you to act with expedition in the interest of preserving the federal balance of our nation as per the Constitution which has provided safeguards against undue interference by the Centre in the affairs of the State by manipulating through the office of Governor," the opposition party said in the memorandum.

It also asked Patil to cancel the appointment of Mehta, arguing that it is "in contravention of the provisions of the Constitution".

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