President Pranab Mukherjee has appointed the former Chief Justice of India P. Sathasivam as the next Governor of Kerala following the resignation of Shiela Dikshit. He will be sworn-in as Governor by the Chief Justice of Kerala High Court at 10 a.m. on September 5.
Government sources told The Hindu that the delay in notifying the appointment was due to the fact that Mrs. Dikshit was being relieved tonight and she was expected to leave the Raj Bhavan in Tiruvananthapuram on Thursday morning.
This is for the first time a retired CJI is appointed to serve as a Governor of a State. Hailing from Kadappanallur Village in Tamil Nadu, Justice Sathasivam belonged to an agricultural family. Another former CJI Ranganath Misra was nominated to the Rajya Sabha by the then Congress government. There had been instances where former Chief Justices of High Courts were appointed as Governors.
Speaking to The Hindu Justice Sathasivam reiterated that he felt nothing wrong in accepting a gubernatorial post to serve the people of Kerala. He assured the people of Kerala that as a former Judge, he would maintain cordial relations with the State and the Centre and work for their welfare. He said “In the last four months, I did not accept any arbitration or consultation work for corporates as other former CJIs are doing. I was happy doing farming work in the village assisting my son.” He recalled his farewell speech that he would accept any position befitting his stature and accordingly he decided to accept the Governor’s post.
Justice Sathasivam denied that his appointment had anything to do with his judgment quashing the second FIR against BJP President Amit Shah in the Tulsiram Prajapathi case in April 2013. He said “At that time nobody would have expected that Mr. Shah would become BJP President. We did not give Mr. Shah clean chit in the case. In fact I shifted the Sohrabuddin case to Maharashtra. In the very same judgment, the court had given liberty to the CBI to file a supplementary charge sheet against Mr. Shah.” He regretted that such an insinuation should be made against a former CJI, who discharged his duty without fear or favour.
Senior Supreme Court advocate Ashok Bhan told The Hindu that a good precedent was being created by appointing former CJI as the Governor. He said there was nothing wrong in Justice Sathasivam accepting the post as he had elevated the Governor’s post to the level of former CJI.