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Former Kerala HC Chief Justice declines offer for state rights body chairperson role

Thiruvananthapuram, April 6 (IANS) – Former Kerala High Court Chief Justice S. Manikumar has declined the appointment as the Chairperson of the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) due to personal reasons. This decision comes after controversy erupted over his appointment, with the Congress party and Leader of the Opposition strongly opposing it.

Manikumar’s appointment was cleared by Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, despite objections from the Congress party and Leader of the Opposition V.D. Satheesan. The appointment was initially proposed by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in September last year, but faced resistance from various quarters.

Satheesan had expressed reservations about Manikumar’s appointment, citing concerns about his impartiality and fairness. He pointed out that some of Manikumar’s decisions as Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court raised doubts about his ability to function without bias towards the government in power.

Former Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala also opposed Manikumar’s appointment, alleging that the former Chief Justice had favored Vijayan in certain cases. Chennithala welcomed Manikumar’s decision not to take up the post, suggesting that it was given as a favor for supporting Vijayan.

Vijayan’s decision to give a farewell to Manikumar, along with some cabinet colleagues, before his superannuation had raised eyebrows. The controversy surrounding Manikumar’s appointment has now been put to rest with his decision to decline the role at the SHRC.

The Governor’s office has yet to announce the next steps following Manikumar’s refusal to accept the appointment. The issue has sparked a debate about the selection process for key positions in the state, highlighting the importance of transparency and accountability in such appointments.


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