The Centre on Thursday moved the Supreme Court for review of its judgement commuting death sentence of three convicts to life term in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case on the ground of delay in deciding their mercy plea.
In a hurridly-filed petition, the Centre contended the three-judge bench, also comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and S K Singh, did not consider the merits of the case and also ventured into the domain of government by commuting the death sentence in the case.
Centre’s move came two days after the apex court commuted to life imprisonment the death penalty for three convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.
It further contended the February 18 judgement was passed without juridiction by the three-judge bench instead by a larger bench of five judges as the case involved substantial interpretation of law and provisions of the constitution.
The review petition was filed hours after the apex court blocked the the decision of Tamil Nadu government to release Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan, who had got relief on Tuesday from an apex court bench headed by chief justice P Sathasivam.
The decision by the apex court had come on a plea by the Centre against Tamil Nadu government’s decision to release all seven convicts in the case.
While commuting the sentences of A G Perarivalan alias Arivu, Sriharan alias Murugan and T Suthentiraraja alias Santhan, the Supreme Court had left it open for Tamil Nadu to grant remissions to them under the executive powers of the state government.
The court said the state is expected to comply with the procedural checks and that the court was ‘inclined’ to go into the issue. Remission is not automatic and that every state is obligated to follow the procedure before releasing any convict, ruled the court.
In a parallel development, Centre asked the Tamil Nadu government not to release seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case saying there must be prior consultation before such a decision is taken.
The Tamil Nadu government had opposed the Centre’s plea to restrain the state from proceeding in the case. The apex court told the TN government that the court was not underestimating the state’s power but it acquired to be assured of procedural compliance by the state.
The development comes a day after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister announced after a Cabinet meet that all the convicts would be allowed to walk free. The plea will be heard at 12:45 pm on Thursday.
(With PTI inputs)