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No Legal Bar To Appointing Ex-SC Judge As Governor: Former Law Secy On Justice Nazeer Row

Amid Opposition furore over the appointment of Judge Abdul Nazeer as Andhra Pradesh's Governor, former Law Secretary said, ‘there's no legal bar’ on such a move

IMAGE: SC Bar Association

As the Opposition, including the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) & Congress, continue to question the appointment of the Governors in various states on February 12, especially that of former Supreme Court Judge Abdul Nazeer assuming the position of the Governor of Andhra Pradesh, a former Union Law Secretary said this is not the first time that such kind of an appointment has happened and that there is no legal and constitutional bar for a judge to hold such a constitutional post after retirement.

PK Malhotra also stated that the judiciary holds a clean image in the minds of people and that should be maintained. 

‘No law which prohibits appointment’: Former Law Secy

The former Law Secretary P K Malhotra in a exclusive conversation with Republic TV said, “Under the Constitution there is no law, which prohibits appointment of a retired Supreme Court or High Court judge as Governor and there are precedents in the past. The Supreme Court judges, even former Chief Justice, have been appointed as Governor.”

However, he also suggested there should be a cooling-off period between the date of retirement of the judge and his appointment on other important positions with the exception of scenarios where by law such a period is mandatory, “Instead of immediately making an appointment, there is a cooling off period or some gap is there in the retirement of the judge and his appointment on some other important position,” said Malhotra to avoid sending out a wrong message in the mind of the people about the judiciary. 

Opposition attacks former SC Justice Abdul Nazeer's appointment

Congress lashed out at the move and said, "Giving government posts and jobs to judges is unfortunate. According to a report, 50% of retired judges of the Supreme Court are being appointed to some positions in the government. People are losing faith in the judiciary due to this. Ram Janmabhoomi and Babri Masjid verdicts given by the Supreme Court were being questioned by many people."

AAP’s Sanjay Singh, hitting out at the Centre’s decision, said, “Governor and L-G’s post should be removed. Crores are wasted in their protocols. They don’t get a single vote and want to run the whole government. The practice of appointing L-G and Governor should be stopped.” 

Justice Nazeer (Retd) to be Andhra Pradesh governor

The government on Sunday appointed six new faces as Governors, including Justice S Abdul Nazeer (Retd), who was part of the historic 2019 Ayodhya verdict. Nazeer was appointed as the Governor of Andhra Pradesh. 

He retired from the Supreme Court on January 4 and was a part of critical verdicts such as the politically sensitive Ayodhya land dispute, instant 'triple talaq' and the one that held the right to privacy to be a fundamental right.

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