Protesting against the appointment of former Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam as the Kerala Governor, the Congress on Tuesday questioned the reason behind the decision, asking if he was being “honoured” because he had done “some work” which had “pleased” Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah and “gladdened their hearts”.
Asking the NDA government to explain what prompted it to choose the “most recently retired” CJI over many of his predecessors, Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma said, “This raises a question. Had he (Sathasivam) done some work which has pleased them? Prime Minister Modi is pleased, Amit Shah is pleased… for which he (Sathasivam) is being honoured?”
He was responding to a question on whether Sathasivam was being given the gubernatorial assignment for granting relief to Shah in a fake encounter case last year. A bench led by Sathasivam had quashed the CBI’s FIR against Shah in the Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter case.
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“Arun Jaitley, as Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, had repeatedly said that retired judges of Supreme Court, let alone the Chief Justice, should not be given any office or position. So the BJP should now clarify why have they made a departure from their stated position… why only an exception (was made) here,” said Sharma.
“Because an exception is being made, the question is why this is being done, that too for a Chief Justice who just retired. Is there anything in his persona, his functioning, or his decisions which have really attracted, very warmly, very positively, the acceptance of the Prime Minister and the BJP president? It is but natural that this question will be asked,” Sharma said.
“I am sure that there is something which has gladdened the hearts of the Prime Minister and the BJP leadership. Otherwise there were other equally qualified respected former CJIs who are living in this country,” he said.
“The CJI and the judges of the highest court should not be open to political patronage. It sends a wrong message and raises doubts. The independence of the judiciary is sacrosanct… Are we now moving to a system where we expect the judiciary to be committed to the government for political patronage post-retirement,” he said.