The Supreme Court will hear on March 6 a writ petition filed by six persons, including two victims of the 1991 blast that killed the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, challenging the powers vested in the State government under the Cr.PC to grant remission to prisoners, including life convicts, for their premature release.

A Bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi, on a mention from counsel Sivabala Murugan, posted the writ petition for hearing on March 6, along with petitions filed by the Centre questioning the Tamil Nadu government’s decision to release the seven life convicts in the Rajiv case.

The petitioners S. Abbas, John Joseph, Americai V. Narayanan, R. Mala, M. Samuvel Diraviyam and K. Ramasugandam, in a writ petition, challenged the constitutional validity and applicability of the power of pardons, reprieves, respites or remission of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence under Sections 432, 433, 435 and the limitation of Section 433A of the Cr.PC.

The petitioners said they were constrained to move the apex court in the backdrop of the Tamil Nadu government’s decision to release the seven life convicts. They said that while exercising the clemency power, the State must keep in mind not only the interests of the convict, but also the effect of its decision on the family of the victims, society as a whole and the precedent it would set for the future.

They said: “In the present case, the State government overlooked the above proposition for a narrow political gain and in one stroke ordered the release of Rajiv’s assassins. The decision is against constitutional values and national spirit.”

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