THE Supreme Court on Thursday disposed of a plea of the kin of those killed along with former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991, challenging the Tamil Nadu Government’s 2014 decision to release seven convicts in the assassination case. A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna said that all relevant issues raised in the petition were decided by the 2015 constitution bench verdict of the apex court.
“Having considered the matter, we are of the view that no live issue remains for adjudication in view of the Constitution bench judgement of this court in Union of India versus V Sriharan alias Murugan and others. In view of the above, the writ petition stands disposed of,” the bench said. The Constitution bench verdict had come on a plea of the Centre challenging the Tamil Nadu’s Government decision of 2014 to remit the sentence of life imprisonment and to release the seven convicts. It held that the Centre has primacy over States’ right to grant remission in cases probed by central agencies like CBI and the State Governments must secure concurrence of the Union Government before freeing convicts in certain cases.
The apex court had said that the States cannot exercise “suo motu” the power to grant remission without any specific plea from the convicts. The petition by S Abbas and three others has challenged the decision taken in 2014 by the then Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa-led Government to release the seven convicts in the case. S Abbas, now 36, was eight years old when his mother had died in the blast triggered by an LTTE suicide bomber in which the former PM was killed at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu on May 21, 1991. The Centre had on August 10, last year told the apex court that it does not concur with the TN Government’s proposal of 2014 to release the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, claiming remission of their sentence will set a “dangerous precedent” and have “international ramifications”. On August 20, 47-year old Perarivalan , a convict had told the apex court that no decision has been taken as yet on his mercy petition filed before the TN Governor over two years ago under Article 161.
Victims’ kin show confidence in TN Governor
THE relative of a victim and a survivor of the 1991 suicide bomber attack which killed former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on Thursday said they are confident Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit will not release the seven life convicts in the assassination case. However, parties, including the DMK, and relatives of the convicts demanded their immediate release. The Congress in Tamil Nadu said there should be no pressure on the Governor over the issue.