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SC to TN: Ask Guv about Rajiv killers’ mercy plea decision
The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the State government to request the Governor to apprise it of his decision on the mercy plea of a convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.
A bench of justices L Nageswara Rao and Deepak Gupta gave this direction to the Tamil Nadu government after it submitted to the bench that the state Cabinet has already adopted a resolution and recommended to the Governor to order premature release of all seven convicts in the case. The Tamil Nadu government submitted to bench that it, however, does not have any information about the Governor’s decision on the mercy petitions filed by the convicts under Article 161 of the Constitution.
At this, the apex court bench asked the state government to itself ask the Governor about his decision on mercy pleas of the convicts, observing that it cannot issue any direction to the Governor.
The bench, however, observed that the Governor “cannot sit indefinitely on a file”. The Article empowers the Governor to pardon a convict in any criminal case. The bench was hearing a plea of 46-year-old AG Perarivalan who has sought suspension of his life sentence in the case till the CBI-led Multi-Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA) probe is completed. Appearing for TN, advocate Balaji Srinivasan at the outset submitted to the bench that they have no information as to what decision the governor has taken on the mercy petitions of the convicts.
“The Cabinet had passed a resolution on September 9, 2018 for the premature release of the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convicts and recommended it to the Governor. We have no information as to what decision the Governor has taken on the mercy petitions filed by the convicts under Article 161. We cannot control the decision of the Governor as he is a superior authority,” he said.
To this, the bench said, “You (state) can ask him as the courts cannot direct the Governor. He cannot sit indefinitely on the file. As Governor is the representative of the state government, you can request him to know about his decision”.
Senior advocate Gopal Sankarnarayanan, appearing for Perarivalan said that a direction in this regard may help the state government in knowing the Governor’s decision. The bench said it is not passing any order and deferred the matter for hearing after two weeks.