The Supreme Court on Wednesday observed that governors, including former judges, were political appointees and their decisions were subject to judicial review.
“Governor is a political appointee even if he is a judge of the Supreme Court,” a five-judge bench headed by Justice JS Khehar said while hearing a batch of petitions on the political crisis in Arunachal Pradesh.
The comment came when counsel for the dissident MLAs defended the governor’s role in recommending the President’s rule in the state. They said governor JP Rajkhowa was a former civil servant and not a political appointee. “Even retired judges have been appointed as judges,” the counsel said, indirectly pointing towards the appointment of former chief justice of India P Sathasivam as Kerala governor.
The bench appeared reluctant to even accept the contention that governors were answerable to the President and not the judiciary. Defending the governor’s action of advancing the assembly session, senior counsel Vikas Singh argued that the constitution provided him the discretionary power to convene, prorogue or dissolve the assembly. The bench observed “Can constitutional finality take over the power of judicial review,” to which Singh replied: “Your lordships cannot re-write the constitution.”