Observing that its intention was not to release them, the Supreme Court on Thursday stayed the release of all the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.
A bench led by Chief Justice P Sathasivam had last week refused to stay the release of four out of seven convicts since they were not petitioners before the court. This had compelled the Centre to file a substantive writ petition, challenging the Tamil Nadu government’s decision to remit the jail terms of all the seven convicts.
Agreeing to hear the Centre’s plea, the bench ordered status quo on all the seven and issued notices to the state government as well as the convicts. While fixing the matter on March 6 for next hearing, the bench said: “Our intention is not to release these persons but lay down certain guidelines that every state should follow.”
Tamil Nadu government’s counsel vehemently opposed the Centre’s plea, contending it was not at all maintainable. The court said it would first test the maintainability of the Centre’s writ petition on the next date.
Out of the 114 candidates, 74 of them have declared serious criminal cases against them.