Keeping aside political differences, the Indian central government has decided to maintain the UPA regime's stand in the Supreme Court and oppose Jayalalithaa government's February 19 decision to release seven life imprisonment convicts in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case by remitting their remaining jail term.
Of the seven, three — Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan — were awarded death sentence in 2001. The SC had commuted their capital punishment to life sentence on February 18 on the ground that they have undergone long period of imprisonment and that there was inexplicable delay in deciding their mercy pleas.
On February 20, the UPA government had rushed to the Supreme Court and got a stay on the release of all seven convicts. It had argued that there should be no release as assassination of a former prime minister was a crime against the nation and that the killers and conspirators had shown no remorse.
Congress's sharp political difference with Jayalalithaa government was reflected by its vice-president Rahul Gandhi who had said: "If a Prime Minister's killers can be released, what kind of justice should the common man expect?"
On April 25, the court had referred the issue to a 5-judge Constitution bench and ordered the matter to be listed for hearing within 3 months. On Tuesday, the constitution bench would take up the Centre's petition alleging that TN government did not have jurisdiction to remit the sentences of the convicts.
Though the Narendra Modi government had fought a bitter battle with Congress during the elections and trying hard to improve its relations with AIADMK supremo and TN chief minister J Jayalalithaa, it has decided not to dilute its uniformly strong stand against terror related offences.(The Times of India)