New Delhi: Gujarat government on Wednesday said it would soon implement the verdict of the Supreme Court upholding the appointment of Justice (retd) RA Mehta as lokayukta even as Congress alleged it kept the anti-corruption ombudsman post vacant using "delaying tactics".
The judgement, which was a setback to the Narendra Modi government, was welcomed by Congress and social activists who said it was a victory of constitutional governance and the rule of law over the "arrogance of power."
Justice Mehta on his part said the state government's attitude will not be a challenge in handling his responsibilities.
"I don't think Modi government's attitude will be a challenge for lokayukta," Mehta said in reply to a query by mediapersons on government's alleged indifferent attitude over appointment of lokayukta in Gujarat.
"We will soon implement the Supreme Court judgement on lokayukta," Gujarat law minister Bhupindersinh Chudasama told reporters in Ahmedabad.
Chudasama also sought to derive some comfort from the judgement, saying, "The Supreme Court has partially accepted Gujarat government's contention that Governor has to act as per the advice of the Council of Ministers."
The Gujarat government and the governor were at loggerheads on the lokayukta appointment issue. In an unprecedented move, Kamla Beniwal appointed Justice Mehta as lokayukta in August 2011, by-passing the Narendra Modi-led BJP government triggering a legal battle. The lokayukta post has remained vacant for eight years.
Congress and NGOs in Gujarat while welcoming the judgement said it will expose the state government's alleged corrupt practices.
"We welcome the decision. The governor's decision to appoint lokayukta was legal and within her constitutional rights ... Better late than never ..." Former Congress legislature party (CLP) leader Shaktisinh Gohil told PTI. Gohil accused the state government of using delaying tactics.
Targetting BJP, Union information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari said it has never shied away from "crying hoarse" on issues of alleged discretion and corruption across the country but was "shy of even appointing a lokayukta when its comes to its own backyard".
BJP state spokesperson Vijay Rupani said, "Let us get a copy of the Supreme Court verdict. We will study it and then comment."