New Delhi : Brushing aside opposition, the government appointed former Chief Justice of India Palaniswamy Sathasivam governor of Kerala on Wednesday.
Sathasivam, 65, is the first Chief Justice of India to be appointed to the post which is lower in warrant of precedence to the CJI. He is the first non-political person appointed for a gubernatorial post by the new NDA government.
A Rashtrapati Bhavan communique said the President has accepted the resignation of Sheila Dikshit, who submitted her papers last week, as Kerala governor and has appointed Sathasivam with effect from the date he assumes charge.
Sathasivam retired as Chief Justice in April this year.
The Congress had slammed the move to appoint Sathasivam as Kerala governor and wondered whether the government was “pleased” with his judgement in the Amit Shah case.
Sathasivam was on the Supreme Court bench that scrapped a second FIR against Shah in a fake encounter case, saying it was linked to the bigger Sohrabuddin Sheikh killing case and did not need to be separate.
The bar association in Supreme Court and Kerala had also petitioned the President against appointment of Sathasivam, saying there was impropriety in a person who had served as CJI being appointed as Governor by the President.
Unfazed by the criticism, Sathasivam said that after his retirement he could utilise his service to the people of the state in a better way compared with other politicians and added that he would share details after the swearing-in.
“I want to utilise my experience for the people of the particular state (Kerala),” he said.
The NDA Government has appointed ten governors so far which include former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh (Rajasthan), Ram Naik (Uttar Pradesh), Keshari Nath Tripathi (West Bengal), Om Prakash Kohli (Gujarat), Balram Ji Das Tandan (Chhattisgarh), Padmanabha Balakrishna Acharya (Nagaland) and Kaptan Singh Solanki (Haryana).
The others appointed were Gujarat Speaker Vajubhai Vala (Karnataka), C Vidyasagar Rao (Maharashtra) and Mridula Sinha (Goa).
So far nine governors, appointed by previous UPA government, have tendered their resignation. The latest was Manipur Governor Vinod Kumar Duggal who submitted the resignation late last week.
Besides Duggal and Dikshit, other Governors who resigned after being nudged by the NDA government were — MK Narayanan (West Bengal), Ashwani Kumar (Nagaland), BL Joshi (UP), BV Wanchoo (Goa) and Shekhar Dutt (Chhattisgarh).
V Purushothaman, the governor of Mizoram, had resigned after he was transferred to Nagaland in July this year while Masharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan tendered his resignation on August 24 after he was shifted to Mizoram.