The Kerala State government has decided to appoint retired Chief Justice of Kerala High Court, Justice S Manikumar as the Chairman of the Kerala State Human Rights Commission (KSHRC). As per reports, the Leader of Opposition in the State, VD Satheesan, has submitted a note of dissent in the Selection Committee comprising also of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the Speaker of the State Assembly.

The appointment did not come as a surprise, especially after a secret send-off was given to the then Chief Justice Manikumar by the state government at a private five-star hotel before his retirement, which was widely discussed after the information reached the media. Senior Advocate K. Ramakumar of the Kerala High Court had then predicted that the agenda behind the secret send-off will become clear soon.

Chief Justice Manikumar retired on April 23, 2023, and the official full court reference in his honour was held on April 13. The private send-off by the government was held on April 19. One Sabu Stephen had filed a complaint before the Chief Justice of India and the President of India asking for the sacking of the Chief Justice before his retirement.

In February, Chief Justice S. Manikumar courted controversy by holding a closed-door meeting with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan at the Ernakulam Government Guest House that lasted for around 40 minutes. After the media highlighted the meeting, the High Court had come out with a strange press release clarifying that the Chief Justice had met the Chief Minister to invite him to the wedding of the former's daughter.

About the unusual send-off by the political executive, Senior Advocate K. Ramakumar had then said that it was extremely improper for the Chief Justice to attend such a function. He had said that the Chief Justice's conduct leaves a question mark on the independence of the judiciary.

He had said that it is not surprising that the state gave such a send-off since "they have had gains and the loss is to the image of the judiciary". He added, "There is an agenda behind this. That agenda will come out in a few days".

The Leader of Opposition has said that the government proposed only the name of Justice Manikumar instead of a panel of names from which the Committee can make a selection.

The Leader of Opposition and Congress leader VD Satheesan has also said that Justice Manikumar’s actions as Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court had raised questions as to whether he could discharge his duty as Chairman of the Commission in a non-partisan and just manner.