Thiruvananthapuram: The Congress in Kerala on Sunday expressed doubt over the aptness of a former Chief Justice of India (CJI) taking over as the Governor of a state.
The state's ruling party's response came following reports that former CJI P Sathasivam would replace Sheila Dikshit who last week announced that she is quitting.
There has been no official announcement of the new Governor's name yet.
"It's the Chief Justice of the country that swears in the President of our country. After that a person in that post going to serve under the President does not augur well," state Congress president VM Sudheeran told reporters here.
"I feel this aspect should be open to debate by all, including constitutional experts. I do not think it's apt," he said.
While Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said the Centre had so far not sought his views on the proposal. “It has been a convention to consult the Chief Minister concerned before appointing the Governor..This practice has been followed during the appointment of previous governors during my tenure as chief minister. (In this case) So far, I have not been consulted. I expect that convention would be followed this time as well,” Chandy told reporters in Kozhikode.
The NDA's move to propose former CJI as the governor has not gone down well with the All India Bar Association (AIBA) as well.
AIBA Chairman Adish Aggarwala has termed the government's move as ill-advised and unethical, considering that when the BJP was in Opposition, it had opposed post – retirement jobs of members of higher judiciary.
“How can a former CJI be appointed Governor? What kind of signal is the government trying to send? The BJP previously opposed post retirement jobs of higher judiciary members. What has changed now?” exclaimed AIBA Chairman.
“Moreover, Former CJI Sathasivam is a candidate for the post of Lokpal and by deciding to appoint him as Governor the Government is preventing his appointment to that important post. The first Lokpal should be a former CJI whereas anyone can be appointed Governor. This is uncalled for”, He added.
Adish Aggarwala also said that he would write to the President to oppose Sathasivam's appointment as Governor and request the government to constitute the Lokpal as soon as possible.
Sathasivam, 65, who hails from the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu, was the 40th Chief Justice of India, holding office from July 2013 to April 2014.