Gujarat initiates process to appoint ombudsman


Ahmedabad : After almost seven years, the Gujarat government has initiated the process of appointing a lokayukta or ombudsman in the state.

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This information was provided by the state government to the Gujarat High Court here Wednesday following a public suit seeking the appointment to the post.

According to the submission, the cabinet has passed a resolution for appointing a lokayukta and has forwarded it to the governor for a decision.

The government stated before a division bench of Justice Bhagwati Prasad and Justice J.C. Upadhyaya that as part of the process, the appointment would take place after the governor has given her decision on the matter and it is approved in the state assembly.

Environmentalist Amit Jethwa had filed a petition seeking the high court’s direction to the state government to initiate the process of appointing a lokayukta in the state.

Advocate for the petitioner, Vijay Nagesh, had submitted before the court that the state does not have a lokayukta for the last seven years which makes it difficult for the public to lodge their complaints.

This left them with no other choice but to approach the high court, he said. He further stated that non-appointment of a lokayukta increases the burden of the judiciary and hence the court should direct the authorities to initiate action.

The division bench Wednesday disposed off the matter after the petitioner’s advocate withdrew the plea after being satisfied with the state government’s action.

Earlier, a division bench of Chief Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya and Justice Akil Kureshi had refused to hear the matter and had directed the registry to place the matter before another division bench.