New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday downplayed the Supreme Court's decision to reject the Modi Government's challenge of the appointment of Justice (Retd.) R.A. Mehta as the Gujarat Lokayukta, saying it cannot be said to be a setback, and added that the outfit would respond to it only after going though a copy of the apex court's judgement.
"See, it is the verdict of the court, it cannot be said to be a setback. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will give any reaction only after studying the verdict. We have not yet received the copy of the judgement, we are looking into it," said BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain.
Launching a frontal attack on Modi, the Congress Party had earlier in the day said the Supreme Court's verdict proves beyond doubt that dictatorship was prevailing in Gujarat.
Congress General Secretary B.K. Hariprasad said the apex court's verdict regarding the appointment of Lokayukta in Gujarat proves that the decision taken by Governor Kamla Beniwal is perfect.
"And, it has proved beyond doubt, that in Gujarat, there was no democratic norms and practice. And, it has proved beyond doubt, that in Gujarat, that dictatorship was prevailing," he added.
Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi also welcomed the Supreme Court's verdict, saying it is unfortunate that there was no Lokayukta in Gujarat for the last eight years.
"And, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Government in Gujarat made all attempts to ensure that a Lokayukta in Gujarat is not appointed, they even demanded that the state Governor should be called back," he added.
Earlier, the Supreme Court upheld the appointment of Justice (retired) Mehta as the state's Lokayukta by Governor Kamla Beniwal.
The apex court, which rejected the Modi Government's contention that the Lokayukta was appointed unilaterally by the Governor, and hence, had breached the constitutional norms and was done without taking its consent, said that appointment was valid as the Governor had appointed the Lokayukta after taking into consideration the views of the Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court.
Governor Beniwal had appointed Justice (retired) Mehta to the post of Lokayukta in Gujarat on August 25 last year. The post had been lying vacant for the last eight years.
The Gujarat High Court had earlier on January 18 last year upheld the appointment of Lokayukta by the Governor, while dismissing the plea of the state challenging it.