SC stays TN govt's move to release Rajiv Gandhi's killers

20 February 2014 08:09 am - 3     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The Supreme Court on Thursday stayed the release of convicts by the Tamil Nadu government in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

The apex court has asked the Tamil Nadu government to maintain status quo on three prisoners Suthendraraja alias Santhan, V Sriharan alias Murugan and A G Perarivalan alias Arivu, whose death sentence was commuted to life term on Tuesday.

The top court has issued notice on Centre's plea that Tamil Nadu government is not allowed to remit the sentences of Rajiv Gandhi's killers.

The court has asked Vellore prison authorities and the TN government not to release the convicts till March 6, when it will hear the Centre's plea again.

The Union government told the court that Rajiv's killers were found guilty under Arms Act and Foreigners Act, under which only the Centre had executive control.

The top court commented adversely on the hasty decision of the Tamil Nadu government to remit the sentences of the three convicts, a day after the SC commuted their death sentences to life on ground of long delay in deciding their mercy pleas.

"The remission of life sentence which is awarded on commuting death penalty is not automatic," the SC said, adding, "there is an elaborate procedure for remission of such life sentences, which TN govt appears not to have followed."

Solicitor general Mohan Parasaran and ASG Siddharth Luthra claimed before the SC bench that Centre alone had the power to remit sentences of the convicts in the Rajiv assassination case.

Earlier today, Union government had moved the Supreme Court against Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa's move to free the killers of Rajiv Gandhi.

Remorseless killers of Rajiv Gandhi did not deserve remission of sentence, the Centre had said in its plea.

Centre had sought deletion of the last paragraph of the judgment which entitles the convicts remission of sentence.

Centre had also sought a review of the judgment.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh issued a statement slamming the move of Tamil Nadu government to free Rajiv Gandhi's killers.

TN govt's proposed course of action to release the killers of Shri Rajiv Gandhi is not legally tenable and should not be proceeded with, Manmohan Singh said in the statement, adding, the assassination of Shri Rajiv Gandhi was an attack on the soul of India.

Release of the killers of a former PM of India, our great leader, and other innocent Indians, would be contrary to all principles of justice. No government or party should be soft in our fight against terrorism, the Prime Minister said.

He said the Centre has "informed the Tamil Nadu government that their proposed course of action to release the killers of Rajiv Gandhi is not legally tenable and should not be proceeded with."

The Tamil Nadu government had on Wednesday announced to release all the seven killers in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

It had given the Centre three days time to respond, failing which it said, it would go ahead and let all the seven convicts walk free.

The move by the state government came a day after the Supreme Court commuted the death sentence of three of the killers to life term.

A three-judge bench, led by Chief Justice P Sathasivam on Tuesday commuted the death sentences of Perarivalan, Murugan and Santhan, on the ground of a delay of nearly 11 years in deciding their mercy petitions by successive Presidents of India.

On Wednesday, Jayalalithaa said the state cabinet had decided to release the convicts as per the powers vested with the state under Section 432 CrPC.

It had decided to remit the sentences of Suthendraraja alias Santhan, V Sriharan alias Murugan and A G Perarivalan alias Arivu, considering the long incarceration of more than 23 years.

It has also decided to release immediately the other four convicts, Nalini, Robert Pyas, Jayakumar and Ravichandran, who served life-term for more than 23 years, she had said.

The Centre had reacted strongly to the state government's decision.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had expressed sadness over the state government's decision.

"If a Prime Minister's killers can be released, what kind of justice should the common man expect?" Rahul said reacting to the news.( Times of India)
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  • Jan Chandra Thursday, 20 February 2014 04:15 PM

    This is what happens in a federated state. One State can terrorise the others.

    Frank Thursday, 20 February 2014 01:56 PM

    best example of the TN government's bias via DM Android App

    Achcharu Friday, 21 February 2014 06:34 AM

    Poor Poor Jaya.. I thought she had a better say on state affairs than Rahul


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