Bench expresses concern over some political parties taking up cause of the convicts

The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its verdict on the plea to transfer the petitions filed by three convicts facing death sentence in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case — Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan — from the Madras High Court to the Supreme Court.

A Bench of justices G.S. Singhvi and S.J. Mukhopadaya while reserving verdict expressed concern at the action of some political parties taking up the cause of convicts and said the convicts had now become pawn of political parties.

The Bench had reserved verdict on the petitions filed by Devendar Pal Singh Bhullar, facing death sentence, questioning the delay in disposal of his mercy petition by the President.

The Bench was hearing a petition filed by L.K. Venkat, President of G.K. Moopanar Peravai, affiliated to the Congress party seeking transfer of the petitions to the Supreme Court on the ground that the atmosphere in the High Court was not conducive for a fair hearing.

The three convicts had filed the writ petitions in the High Court challenging the rejection of their clemency plea by President Pratibha Patil after 11 years. The High Court on August 30, 2011 stayed their execution.

Mr. Venkat said the High Court, acting on the writ petitions of the three convicts, had stayed their execution scheduled for September 9, 2011. He said on August 30, 2011 when the matter was heard in the High Court, over 5,000 supporters had gathered inside and outside the court campus. They were interfering with the judicial function and also disturbing the proceedings.

‘Unethical behaviour'

He said admittedly the mob that gathered inside the Court hall shouted slogans and resorted to whistling to support the three convicts. This was totally unethical and improper.

Judges who heard the matter were helpless. He said that to ensure fair and free justice, the said writ petitions should be transferred to the Supreme Court

On behalf of the three convicts Mr. Jethmalani argued that the petition was not maintainable as no questions of law had been raised and the petitioner had no locus standi. He said the law was already settled that delay in disposal of the mercy petition had not been explained and the Centre had to file its response.

Additional Advocate General Guru Krishna Kumar, appearing for Tamil Nadu, also opposed the petition stating that the atmosphere in the Madras High Court did not warrant any transfer.