Shri Justice P. Sathasivam

Shri Justice P. Sathasivam was born into an agricultural family as the son of late Palaniswamy and Smt. Natchiyammal at Kadappanallur Village near Bhavani in Erode district, Tamil Nadu on 27 April 1949.  Graduating from the Government Law College, Madras, he enrolled as an advocate and was appointed to the post of Additional Government Pleader. Subsequently, he became the Special Government Pleader in the Madras High Court.   He also served as Legal Adviser for several state-owned corporations, municipalities and banks. He was appointed a permanent judge of the Madras High Court on 8th January 1996 and transferred to the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 2007. He was elevated to the post of Judge of the Supreme Court on 21 August 2007. He was sworn-in as the 40th Chief Justice of India on 19 July 2013 and retired on 26 April 2014.  

Shri Justice Sathasivam has to his credit several path-breaking judgments which include the 'Reliance Gas Judgment' wherein he observed that ‘in a national democracy like ours, the national assets belong to the people’ and the same should be explored through Public Sector Undertakings. Along with Justice B.S. Chauhan, he delivered the judgment in the '1993 Mumbai blasts case', sentencing several accused persons including Bollywood Actor Sanjay Dutt to five years imprisonment.  This was the biggest case heard in the history of Supreme Court.  In consonance with the international conventions and treaties, he delivered another important judgment in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination accused case,  holding that unexplained and unreasonable delay in disposal of mercy petitions by the President leads to commutation of death sentence into life sentence.

In the case of 'Safai Karamchari Andolan Vs Union of India', after hearing Union of India, all States and Union Territories, with a view to bring to an end the practice of manual scavenging and also to prevent future generations from the inhuman practice, he issued a series of directions to all the States for prohibition of manual scavenging. The order also had a  rehabilitation package, which included the grant of Rs. 10 lakh as compensation to the families of everyone who died in sewers since 1993.

In 'Union of India Vs National Federation of the Blind', in view of the provisions of the ‘Persons with Disabilities Act’, and of the fact that many Governments failed to provide reservation for disabled persons, Justice Sathasivam  held that 3% refers to a part of the total vacancies in cadre strength, and directed Central, States and Union Territories to strictly implement the Act.  [The  Parliament later increased this reservation to 4%].

He also authored leading Judgments in electoral reforms such as ‘Nota’, ‘Paper Trail’  ‘furnishing all required details in the nomination paper’ as mandatory etc.

Shri Justice (Retd) P. Sathasivam, who  assumed office as the Governor of Kerala on 05 September 2014 has pioneered a quality improvement drive in higher education by instituting the Chancellor's Award for the  best  university in the State.

Shri Justice Sathasivam is married to Smt. Saraswati and has two sons, S. Sreenivasan and S. Senthil

Shri Justice (Retd) P.Sathasivam served as Governor till 5th September 2019