P. Shiv Shankar

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Punjala Shiv Shankar
12th Governor of Kerala
In office
12 November 1995 – 1 May 1996
Preceded by B. Rachaiah
Succeeded by Khurshid Alam Khan
8th Governor of Sikkim
In office
21 September 1994 – 11 November 1995
Preceded by Radhakrishna Hariram Tahiliani
Succeeded by K. V. Raghunatha Reddy(Additional charge)
Personal details
Born (1929-08-10)10 August 1929
Mamidipalli, Distt. Hyderabad, Telangana
Died 27 February 2017(2017-02-27) (aged 87)
Hyderabad, India
Nationality Indian
Political party Indian National Congress (till 2008, since 2011)
Praja Rajyam Party (2008–2011)
Spouse(s) Dr. P. Lakshmibai
Children

2 sons and 1 daughter

Sons = 1. P.Sudhir Kumar,2. Dr.P.Vinay Kumar

Punjala Shiv Shankar (10 August 1929 – 27 February 2017) was an Indian politician. He served as the Minister of External Affairs, Law, and Petroleum. He was a very influential minister in Indira Gandhi's and Rajiv Gandhi's cabinets and was one of the most senior politicians in India. He also served as Governor of Sikkim from 1994 to 1995 and Governor of Kerala from 1995 to 1996.[1]

Personal life[edit]

P. Shiv Shankar was born on 10 August 1929 in Mamidipalli, Distt. Hyderabad, Telangana to Late Shri P. Bashiah. He studied B.A. at Hindu College, Amritsar and LL.B. at Law College, Osmania University, Hyderabad. He is married to Dr. (Smt.) P. Lakshmibai on 2 June 1955. He has two sons and one daughter.[1]

Career[edit]

P. Shiv Shankar worked served the poor and worked for the welfare of our Country. He was judge in Andhra Pradesh High Court during 1974 and 1975. He was elected to 6th Lok Sabha from Secunderabad in 1979. He was in Indian National Congress political party.[2] He was re-elected from same constituency in 1980.[3] He was made Ministry of Law and Justice in Third Indira Gandhi Ministry in 1980.Shiv Shankar had held several positions in the Government, it was his stint as the Union Law Minister in Indira Gandhi Cabinet, after her return to power in 1980, which was the turning point in India’s judiciary. As Union Law Minister, Shiv Shankar was responsible for the issue of circulars, attempting to transfer Judges. On March 18, 1981, Shiv Shankar, as the Law Minister, addressed a circular to the governors and chief ministers of all States requesting them to elicit from additional judges... their agreement to be transferred to any high court. The reasons mentioned in the circular were that such a policy of transfer would help national integration, combat narrow and parochial tendencies like caste, kinship, and other local considerations. But the circular was largely seen as an expression of no-confidence in the judiciary and a device to punish the inconvenient judges. Granville Austin, in his Working A Democratic Constitution: The Indian Experience (1999), said about the circular: “This threw kerosene on existing flames when it became public knowledge in mid-April (1981) that the circular asked the recipients to obtain from the additional judges in the state’s high court ‘their consent to be appointed permanent judges in any other high court (they might indicate three courts in order of preference) and to obtain from potential judges ‘their consent to be appointed to any other high court in the country.’

      The written consents and preferences were to be sent to Shiv Shankar within two weeks In the Lok Sabha, Shiv Shankar asked if the independence of the Judiciary meant “touch-me-not”.   He seemed to confirm that he sent the circular without consulting the then Chief Justice of India, Y.V.Chandrachud.

What happened thereafter is history. On December 30, 1981, the Supreme Court’s seven Judge bench gave its decision in S.P.Gupta vs Union of India, in which the Court held that Shiv Shankar’s circular was not unconstitutional, because it had no legal force in the first place. In his book, Austin refers to different perceptions of Shiv Shankar during this period. One school of thought believed that he intended to reduce judicial independence, and he carefully avoided recommending for appointment judges unfriendly to Mrs.Gandhi, the then Prime Minister. Another body of opinion, Austin notes, held that his circular was not intended to intimidate judges into ruling in favour of the government. Shiv Shankar was not averse to ‘shaking up’ judges partly to caution them when considering the government’s interest, but his principal motivation seems to have lain in class and caste consciousness. As Austin puts it: “To him, judges were intellectuals or Brahmins, or from the newly strong economic castes and classes-the upper reaches of the Other Backward Classes – whose monopoly had to be broken’ so that lower-ranking members of the OBCs and Scheduled Castes and Tribes could ‘thrive’ as advocates and find their way to the bench”. Austin adds that Shiv Shankar believed that Chief Justices of high courts showed caste preferences in selecting colleagues and in deciding cases, and transfers might ameliorate this because outside judges would have no local roots.

Austin also records a personal element which motivated Shiv Shankar. “A self-made man from the Kapu community in Andhra Pradesh (a large community of agriculturists at the lower rungs of the OBCs), he thought the Reddy community dominated the high court there, and he had resigned from the high court when he thought a Reddy Judge had denied him the chief justiceship.” Shiv Shankar was a Judge in Andhra Pradesh High Court between 1974-1975, before he plunged into politics. His intemperate remark, made in the course of a speech he delivered in 1987, that the “Supreme Court is a haven for anti-social elements, FERA violators, bride-burners and a whole horde of reactionaries”, landed him in a contempt case, filed by senior advocate, P.N.Duda. But the Supreme Court acquitted him in that case. Shiv Shankar’s passing away, at a time when the transfers of and appointment of Judges in the High Courts, continue to a major issue between the Centre and the Supreme Court’sCollegium, is a sad reminder of how the struggle for primacy between the Executive and the Judiciary began in the 1980s, and continues to date.


In 1985, P. Shiv Shankar was elected to Rajya Sabha from Gujarat and remained in Rajya Sabha till 1993 for two terms.[4] He was Minister of External Affairs and Minister of Human Resource Development during these terms. He was deputy chairman of Planning Commission from 1987 to 1988. Then, P. Shiv Shankar became Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha from 1988 to 1989. After that, he served as Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha during 1989 and 1991.[1]

P. Shiv Shankar sworn in as Governor of Sikkim on 21 September 1994. He remained on the post till 11 November 1995.[5] He also was Governor of Kerala from 1995 to 1996.[1]

In 1998 General elections, P. Shiv Shankar contested election from Tenali constituency, he defeated incumbent M.P. Sarada Tadiparthi of Telugu Desam Party and was elected to Lok Sabha.[1]P Shiv Shankers family, just like him, are highly accomplished in their respected fields but remain very low profile and humble.P Shiv Shankars wife laxmi Bai has done her double D.lit at the age of 85 on bhagawatgita. P.Shiv Shankars younger Son late P. Sudhir Kumar elected as a MLA from Malakpet, and worked as State Youth Congress President. His elder Son Dr. P.Vinay Kumar a Famous Surgical Gastroenterologist and backward class leader in Telugu States, his daughter in law Alekhya Punjala is a world famous Kuchipudi dance exponent who has received many prestigious awards.Shiv shakers grand son Sashwath Punjala is a graduate from the famous NALSAR university and an active youth leader. Shiva Shanker elevated so many Politicians such as Sangitha Venkata Reddy, Vangaveeti Mohana Ranga Rao, Kanna Lakshmi Narayana,Mohd Ali Shabbir,Mukesh Goud,C Ramchandriah,Dharmana Prasada Rao and many more owe their political life to him.

In 2004, P. Shiv Shankar quit Congress party because he had alleged that party tickets in Andhra Pradesh were being sold. There was no response to either his resignation or the allegations made by him. In 2008, He joined Praja Rajyam Party formed by Telugu film actor Chiranjeevi. In August 2011, Praja Rajyam Party merged with Congress.[6] He died on 27 February 2017, aged 87.

References[edit]

Lok Sabha
Preceded by
M M Hashim
Member of Parliament
for Secunderabad

1979 – 1984
Succeeded by
T. Anjaiah
Preceded by
Sarada Tadiparthi
Member of Parliament
for Tenali

1998 – 1999
Succeeded by
Ummareddy Venkateswarlu
Political offices
Preceded by
Bali Ram Bhagat
Minister of Law and Justice
1980 - 1982
Succeeded by
Jagannath Kaushal
Preceded by
Hans Raj Khanna
Minister for External Affairs
1986 - 1986
Succeeded by
Narayan Dutt Tiwari
Preceded by
Radhakrishna Hariram Tahiliani
Governor of Sikkim
21 September 1994 - 11 November 1995
Succeeded by
K. V. Raghunatha Reddy
Preceded by
B. Rachaiah
Governor of Kerala
12 November 1995 - 1 May 1996
Succeeded by
Khurshed Alam Khan