New Delhi: The Union government on Wednesday officially announced the appointment of former Chief Justice of India Palaniswamy Sathasivam as the new Kerala governor despite criticism from the Opposition and some other quarters.
The issue appears to have revealed some cracks within the Congress which distanced itself from remarks made by its leader Manish Tewari, who noted that there was “no constitutional or legal bar” on a former CJI accepting the position of a governor.
Justice Sathasivam is, incidentally, the first non-political person appointed as a governor by the Narendra Modi government. A Rashtrapati Bhavan communiqué on Wednesday said the President had accepted the resignation of Sheila Dikshit, who submitted her papers last week, as Kerala Governor and had appointed Mr Sathasivam with effect from the date he assumes charge.
It is learnt that the Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court will administer the oath of office to him on September 5. Justice Sathasivam, who retired as the CJI in April this year, told a TV channel that he would “serve the people of Kerala, and work for their welfare.”
Meanwhile the President has also accepted the resignation of Manipur Governor V.K. Duggal and has given additional charge of the state to Nagaland governor K.K. Paul.
The Congress attacked the move to make Justice Sathasivam as Kerala Governor, and wondered if the Centre was “pleased” with his ruling in the Amit Shah case.
Mr Sathasivam was on the Supreme Court bench that scrapped a second FIR against Mr Shah in a fake encounter case, saying it was linked to the bigger case of the Sohrabuddin Sheikh killing, and didn’t need to be a separate case.
“Why was he made? This raises a question if he has done some work for which they are pleased. PM Modi is pleased, Amit Shah is pleased and that is why he is being honoured,” Congress leader Anand Sharma had said on Tuesday.