Rajiv Gandhi killers to remain jailed

New Delhi: The Supreme Court, in a historic verdict on Wednesday, said that the government in Tamil Nadu government could not reduce or release the convicted conspirators in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

The constitution bench of the Supreme Court headed Chief Justice HL Dattu pronounced the verdict. The Supreme Court further said in the verdict that the Tamil Nadu government had no jurisdiction to release the convicts.

Even if it decided on that the government will have to consult the matter with New Delhi since the case was probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation. A state government will not be the “appropriate” authority under the law to exercise its power of remission in the case, the apex court held.

The high-profile sensitive case reached the apex court after the Jayalalithaa government in Tamil Nadu decided to release V Sriharan alias Murugan, AG Perarivalan alias Arivu and T Suthendraraja alias Santhan. The apex court had, however, commuted the capital punishment to life-term following the immoderate delay in deciding their plea for seeking clemency from the President of India.

On February 18, 2014, the Supreme Court of India commuted their death sentence to life-term citing that the 11-year delay in deciding their mercy petition was un-humanly and unreasonable.

A lot of controversies were created when the Centre and the Tamil Nadu government took exactly opposite stance when the Jayalalithaa administration decided to release Sriharan, Perarivalan and Suthendraraja after commutation of their death sentence.

The Tamil Nadu government had asserted its power to grant remission while the Centre resisted their release saying it could not be done without a consensus. On Wednesday, the Constitution Bench found legitimacy with the Centre’s arguments and ruled that a state government will have no power to suo moto grant remission to convicts in cases investigated by central agencies like CBI and NIA.

(With inputs from agencies)