India

Gujarat ombudsman RA Mehta appointment is upheld

The high court in India's Gujarat state has upheld the appointment of state ombudsman, retired judge RA Mehta.

Justice Mehta's appointment as Lokayukta was challenged by Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

Mr Modi said Governor Kamla Beniwal had acted unconstitutionally by not consulting the state government. The post had been vacant for eight years.

Correspondents say the court order is seen as a setback for the chief minister.

Justice Mehta, a former High Court judge, was appointed in August last year.

Mr Modi wrote to the prime minister demanding that the governor be recalled and also filed a complaint in the high court.

In October, two high court judges disagreed in their verdict and the case was referred to the third judge who delivered his order on Wednesday.

"I could not agree with Justice Sonia Gokani of the division bench on the points of difference, which were referred to me. I concur with the views of my brother judge Akil Kureshi," Press Trust of India quoted Justice VM Sahai as saying.

"Hence, the government petition is dismissed," he said.

In October, Justice Kureshi had ruled that the appointment of Lokayukta was "constitutional".