Former Supreme Court judge Faizanuddin has reacted with "shock" and "disgust" to the appointment of former Chief Justice of India (CJI) P Sathasivam as Kerala Governor, saying the move was against constitutional mandate and a threat to the concept of judicial independence.
Talking to HT, Justice Faizanuddin said the Constitution of India didn’t permit such appointment. "I am shocked and disgusted. This is a political move, (a) well-designed and calculated step with intent to tame, allure and politicise even the members of the highest judiciary, which is a sign for destruction and killing the largest democracy known to the world," he said.
Justice Faizanuddin, who retired from the apex court in 1997 and now resides in Bhopal, said, "I don’t know where we are leading to. I fear if this trend goes further, the judges may not hesitate even to become MPs and MLAs and what not. There should be no greed or attempt to grab a post-retirement assignment. It may be accepted only when a suitable assignment is offered."
The former judge asserted that the appointment was against constitutional provisions. "The appointment of Justice P Sathasivam is clearly against the very spirit of clause 7 of article 124 of Indian Constitution, according to which no person who has held office of a judge of Supreme Court shall plead or act in any court or before any authority within the territory of India. The extended meaning of the word 'act' may even cover the post of Governor who has to appear and act before the President to give him details about happenings in the state and Centre...And he may even be required to dance before Prime Minister and Home Minister, being the representative of the Centre in the state."
Justice Faizanuddin said the objective of the constitutional provision was to protect the high office of the Supreme Court judge, which "the government is destroying and the incumbent is happily accepting the assignment without a wrinkle on his forehead."
The 82-year-old former judge also appealed to the bar associations to condemn the appointment and challenge it in the apex court, "to save the honour of the high office of the judge."
"Such a political patronage may dent the concept of judicial independence," said the former Lokayukta.