In his final media interaction before leaving the state, Kerala's outgoing Governor Justice P Sathasivam today said he believes the Indian judiciary continues to remain independent and not under any pressure.
A retired Chief Justice of India himself, when asked about the recent controversy around the collegium in Supreme Court or the press conference held by four judges in Supreme Court last year, Mr Sathasivam said, "In Supreme Court , Chief Justice of India is the head of the institution and in-charge for distribution of work, allocation etc. All judges are qualified, but some are specialised. Like in my tenure, Justice Kapadia was an expert on tax side. Some may be experts in criminal or corporate law. So Chief Justice may allocate cases to the respective judge. No one can say the Chief Justice is favouring one or the other. I don't think they are justified."
"Judiciary is functioning independently. No one is pressuring them. I don't think so. I was there for eight years. They (judges) might have had some grievance. It is a practice, every day, any judge in Supreme Court is free to discuss with Chief Justice, if there is any grievance. There is no restriction on meeting Chief Justice over a tea," Justice P Sathasivam said.
During his tenure as Governor, Justice Sathasivam had sought reports from the Chief Minister on multiple occasions, whether it be during the violence witnessed in the state after Supreme Court allowed for women of all ages to enter Sabarimala temples, or the instances of political murders across party lines earlier.
"As far as I am concerned, because of my background of judiciary, I know the powers of the Governor. It is all written in the Constitution. Nobody can do as he or she likes... You cannot expect the Governor to interfere for everything... Every month the head of the state has to give a detailed report to President of India, Vice President, PM and Home Minister, regarding the political, development activities of the state," P Sathasivam said.
But when asked about the Supreme Court's decision on Sabarimala, P Sathasivan said, "Any government is bound to follow Supreme Court's judgement. If anyone is aggrieved, individual or political party, they are free to approach the Supreme Court saying you have exceeded the limit, please modify. They are free to. In some cases they have modified. Not proper on my part to make any comment on this now since I am a Governor till tomorrow. After my retirement on 5th, I may respond."
On recent allegations of Governors acting as agents of the centre in certain instances, the outgoing Governor said, "Not factually correct. Last two days I noticed newspapers pointing at honorable Governor of J&K. There is no elected government there. He is the head of the state. So he has to make statements informing public. Nothing wrong. No one can go against the Constitution. I don't think the central government is pressurising Governors to do something or not."
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