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Rajiv Gandhi assassination case: TN moves SC, wants convicts released

A five-judge Bench had stalled the J Jayalalithaa government’s move to free all seven convicts, saying that no remission can be granted by “putting the interest of the nation in peril”.

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Updated: July 28, 2016 3:44 am
rajiv gandhi assasination, rajiv, gandhi, tamil nadu government, assasination accused, tamil nadu, j jayalalithaa, jayalalithaa, tamil nadu cm, tn cm jayalalithaa, jayalalithaa government, supreme court, supreme court tn government, india news Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s government had asked for the release of all seven accused. File Photo/Agencies

The Tamil Nadu government Wednesday moved the Supreme Court, seeking reconsideration of the judgment that blocked the release of seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

Filing a review petition in the court, the state government has challenged the majority ruling of the Constitution Bench in December last year that had held that state governments cannot remit jail terms of convicts in cases of national importance without the Centre’s approval.

A five-judge Bench had stalled the J Jayalalithaa government’s move to free all seven convicts, saying that no remission can be granted by “putting the interest of the nation in peril”.

The review petition has contended that the letters of the Criminal Procedure Code were clear that the central government had no primacy in matters relating to remission or commutation of sentence and that it was “erroneous” on the part of the Bench to hold that the Centre had a “special status” under the constitutional scheme.

Arguing that the law required it to consult the Centre before commuting the sentence, it said the Bench interpreted “consultation” as “concurrence”, thereby circumscribing the statutory power conferred upon state governments for remission and commutation. This, the petition claimed, would disturb the balance of power between the central and the state governments and the state governments henceforth would be reluctant to prefer CBI probes.

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The Tamil Nadu government also questioned maintainability of the writ petition filed by the Centre in the apex court against the state government’s decision to release the convicts and said fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution are only for citizens of India.

“In the case of remitting the sentence of the convicts it is the state government which is the executive authority more competent to decide the outcome of such release/ remission of convicted persons because of its proximity to the facts and circumstances relating to the case…” stated the petition.

Disputing the reasoning in the verdict that granted the Centre overriding authority in cases of national importance, the petition has argued that “it is essential to reverse this rational which degraded an equal constitutional entity i.e. the ‘states’ to a secondary position to the Centre which is a attribute of an unitary constitution…”

On February 18, 2014, the court had commuted death sentence of three convicts — Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan — due to inordinate delay by the executive in deciding their mercy plea. The next day, the state government suo motu ordered release of all seven life convicts. The Centre then went to court and got their release stayed.

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  1. M
    Jul 28, 2016 at 12:58 am
    Well what to expect from Chorni corrupt governance at the state...Keep it up TN for electing these criminals as the CM...And yet we expect India to change...Yeah for sure...
    1. J
      Jul 28, 2016 at 1:46 am
      Murderers are murderers even Rajiv hi and his family deserve justice....fry these people in electric chair.
      1. A
        ashok s
        Jul 28, 2016 at 1:36 am
        Well if they completed their sentence they should be released. As such ,ltte and their rebellion era is over. But cm should ensure that co exist in society in peaceful manner.
        1. B
          Jul 28, 2016 at 6:52 am
          one of the country's best prime ministers was Rajiv hi, there's no doubt at all. this reader is not speaking of his party. he wanted to see INDIA clean at every stage. he was killed brutally by the terrorists. accused / criminals arrested and are serving in jails. however, the govt. of TN is approaching SC to get them released is an unfair act as these accused if released, it will be a great shame not only to this country but also personalities like Rajiv hi. criminals/accused will at all stage/s be treated as criminals / accused. they killed one of the precious lives i.e., Raji hi that INDIA got after so many decades a best pm. had he lived and chaired pmo, definitely, vast changes in the area of development, progress would have taken place. his lost is a great loss to this country especially for the poor. ONE THING TO REMEMBER, AFTER COMMITTING HEINOUS CRIME, THESE PEOPLE /ACCUSED GOT ONLY LIFE IMPRISONMENT AND NOT HANG THEM TILL DEATH. SEE, OUR LAW STILL PARDON THESE ACCUSED. INSTEAD OF HANGING THEM, THE GREAT LAW AND THE HON'BLE COURT COMMUTED TO LIFE IMPRISONMENT. THIS ALSO DO NOT WANT AND THEY BE FREED???? ITS RIDICULOUS
          1. I
            Jul 28, 2016 at 4:30 am
            If the SC has delivered death sentence to a convict, the pardon is only at the discretion of the President. If the President does not exercise his/her power to pardon the death sentence, the SC decision would automatically apply. The Presidential pardon too, is only for the death sentence, not a remission - the convict only escapes hanging, not a life imprisonment. Where is the question of remission by any other consitutional authority ? How can anyone override the SC's sentence ?
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