NEW DELHI: The Tamil Nadu government on Thursday favoured in the Supreme Court the pre-mature release of Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convicts Nalini Sriharan and RP Ravichandran, saying its 2018 aid and advice for remission of their life sentence is binding upon the Governor.
In two separate affidavits, the Tamil Nadu government told the top court that in the state Cabinet meeting held on September 9, 2018, it had considered mercy petitions of seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case and resolved to recommend the Governor for remission of their life sentences invoking the power granted under Article 161 of the Constitution.
“That the said recommendation in respect of seven life convict petitioners were sent to the then Governor of Tamil Nadu individually for approval on September 11 and the same were pending with his office since then,” it said.
Nalini, Santhan, Murugan, AG Perarivalan, Robert Payas, Jayakumar and Ravichandran were sentenced to life term and spent over 23 years in jail.
The state government said, “the law is well settled in the catena of apex court judgments that the Governor of a state is bound by the aid and advice given by the Council of Ministers of a state under Article 161 of the Constitution.”
It referred to the Constitution bench verdict of the top court in the Maru Ram versus Union of India (1981 verdict) in which the position with respect to Article 161 of the Constitution was authoritatively summed up and said that the action of commutation and release can be pursuant to a governmental decision.