The Supreme Court Tuesday conveyed its unhappiness over the pendency of the file seeking remission of sentence of one of the convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case — the matter has been pending with the Tamil Nadu Governor for two years.
A bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta and Ajay Rastogi asked Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, who appeared for convict A G Perarivalan, if the court can exercise powers under Article 142 of the Constitution to request the Governor to decide on the matter.
Sankaranarayanan said the Tamil Nadu government had also made a recommendation but the file was still pending with the Governor.
“You please tell us what.. the court can do in such cases? Can we ask the Governor to do that as has been done in earlier cases,” the bench sought to know.
Sankaranarayanan said that it was the prerogative of the Governor and also referred to several instances where the court had exercised powers under Article 142.
The bench then said “we don’t want to exercise our jurisdiction at this stage but we are not happy that a recommendation made by the government is pending for two years”.
Advocate Balaji Srinivasan, who appeared for the state, told the bench that it is a case of “larger conspiracy” and the Governor is waiting for a report from the CBI.
To this, Justice Rao remarked that the “larger conspiracy” only dealt with whether other people are involved, and not with respect to those already convicted and in prison. The bench also added that the larger conspiracy probe has been pending for many years now.
Adjourning the case to November 23, the bench asked the parties to reply how the court can give directions to the Governor.
The state government had earlier told the court that on September 9, 2018, it had recommended to the Governor the premature release of all seven convicts in the case.
The top court had earlier dismissed a plea by Perarivalan seeking a recall of the May 11, 1999, verdict upholding his conviction.