Former Chief Justice of India Palanisamy Sathasivam today assumed office as 23rd Governor of Kerala, succeeding Sheila Dikshit.
65-year-old Justice Sathasivam, whose appointment triggered debate in legal and political circles on the propriety of giving gubernatorial assignment to a former CJI, was administered the oath of office by Acting Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court, Justice Ashok Bhushan, at a simple function held at the Raj Bhavan here.
Saraswathy Sathasivam, wife of the Governor, was also present on the occasion.
Sathasivam is the first retired CJI to become a Governor of a state.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, his cabinet colleagues, Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha P J Kurien and state Assembly Speaker G Karthikeyan were present. However, Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan and other LDF leaders were conspicuous by their absence.
When contacted, sources at the office of Opposition leader said he did not attend the function as there was no intimation about it. However, government said the charge that the Opposition leader was not invited for the function was factually incorrect.
An official release said Achuthanandan was officially invited for the function and also a seat for him was reserved in the front row at Raj Bhavan.
After Sathasivam's appointment as Governor, State Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala had stated that there was no place for differences and controversies once he was made the governor and welcomed his appointment.
After his appointment on September 3, Sathasivam had said after his retirement "I can utilise my service to the people of the state in a better way compared to other politicians."
"I want to utilise my experience for the people of the particular state (Kerala)," he had said.
Justice Sathasivam, born on April 27, 1949, became CJI in July 2013 and retired from the position in April this year.
Before his supreme court assignment, he served as a Judge of Madras High Court and the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
He is the first non-political person appointed for a gubernatorial post by the new NDA government.