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Updated: May 1, 2012 22:54 IST

SC transfers to itself Rajiv case convicts' pleas

J. Venkatesan
Comment (10)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
The combo picture at the top shows the convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case - Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan. (Bottom). Mother and sister of Perarivalan seen during a hearing at the Madras High Court. File photo
The combo picture at the top shows the convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case - Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan. (Bottom). Mother and sister of Perarivalan seen during a hearing at the Madras High Court. File photo

Important issue: the question for consideration is whether long delay in deciding on mercy petitions entitles convicts to seek commutation of death sentence

The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed that the writ petitions filed by three convicts facing the death sentence in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case — Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan — be transferred to itself from the Madras High Court.

A Bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and S.J. Mukhopadhaya passed this order on petitions filed by L.R. Venkat, president of the G.K. Moopanar Peravai, affiliated to the Congress, and two others, for shifting the case on the ground that the atmosphere in the Madras High Court was not conducive to a fair hearing.

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

The Tamil Nadu government and some of the private respondents controverted Mr. Venkat and others' assertion that the atmosphere in the State “is highly surcharged and fair hearing of the writ petitions filed by the convicts is not possible in the Madras High Court.”

They pleaded that there was no impediment to the hearing of the writ petitions by the High Court and these should not be transferred merely because a similar issue was pending before this court. They also questioned the locus standi of the petitioners to seek transfer of the writ petitions, alleging they were merely busybodies and interested in publicity.

Writing the order, Justice Singhvi said: “Although, the parties have made diametrically opposite assertions about the atmosphere which prevailed in the State after rejection by the President of the mercy petitions filed by V. Sriharan @ Murugan and two others, we do not consider it necessary to decide whether the support extended by the political outfits and others to those who were found guilty of killing the former Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, may impede fair adjudication of the writ petitions filed by them warrants transfer of the three writ petitions from the Madras High Court to this court.”

The Bench said: “However, keeping in view the fact that an identical question is pending consideration before this court in the writ petition filed by Devender Pal Singh Bhullar and Mahendra Nath Das, we deem it proper to exercise power under Article 139A (1) of the Constitution.”

Similar plea

The Bench said “There is no dispute between the parties that the question which arises for consideration in the writ petitions filed by three convicts is, whether long delay in the decision of the mercy petitions entitles the convicts to seek commutation of the death sentence. This case is similar to the one raised in the cases filed by Devender Pal Singh Bhullar and Mahendra Nath Das. In our opinion, that question is of substantial general importance and a decision thereof is likely to affect a large number of persons who have been convicted by the competent courts and sentenced to death and whose mercy petitions have remained pending for years together. Therefore, we are satisfied that it will be in the interest of justice to transfer the three writ petitions pending before the Madras High Court.”

The Bench directed the Registrar-General of the Madras High Court to send the records of the three writ petitions to this court through a messenger within two weeks of receipt of communication from the Registry of this court.

The transferred cases would be listed for July 10 for final disposal. Notice should be issued to the writ petitioners that their case would be taken up for hearing by this court on July 10.

The killers defied sovereignty of India by killing its ex-PM. LTTE also did so with Srilanka by trying to establish a sovereign Tamil Elam in that country. The assassins subjected the entire nation to permanently suffer the pain of losing a promising politician who loved and thought for the common man. They subjected Rajiv's family to suffer from a sense of insecurity for long 20 years who lost their credibility in Indian politics. Congress,the largest political party of the country has been suffering till date and has become like a headless group of people that affected the country adversely.
So if the people who inflicted so much sufferings to crores of people and withdrew from the political arena a promising well wisher of the masses, suffer for long due to apprehensions of death execution, or their families feel sad for that, then it's also in the interest of justice; and they should suffer that. All such people shouldn't be spared to give a strong message to such other people.

from:  Dr. Sachchidananda
Posted on: Jun 13, 2012 at 15:41 IST

Those who robbed money are encountered in Tamilnadu but killer of a P.M
is made to wait for punishment. This is the height of linguistic
regionalism.

from:  Rohan Bihari
Posted on: May 2, 2012 at 11:57 IST

The world is full of mockery and Laws that safeguards corrupt and criminal politicians. Although Rajiv Gandhi was a great leader, genuine and sympathetic to the Tamils' sufferings, his advisors has mislead him due to his lack of experience that led to the IPKF committing human rights abuses and war crimes in Eelam and Bofors scandal due to the Italian connection. The Sinhala soldier who hit Rajiv Gandhi during the parade in Colombo was not punished but probably awarded for his action.
Indian UPA Officials who collaborated with the SL regime in committing war crimes and human rights abuses are not under any investigation yet and may not end up in jails for their part in mass murders, rape, chemical warfare and torture of the Tamils in Eelam. Is justice delivered to the poor and those who do not have political backing of the highest order? God will punish all evils with the same yardstick!

from:  Shiva
Posted on: May 1, 2012 at 21:20 IST

Let us hope that the decision of Supreme Court will pave way for an end to the stalemate in
executing the death penalty awarded in many other cases. No doubt the convicts facing the
gallows also undergo endless mental agony. But it also cost the exchequer huge money. In
Rajiv Gandhi killers case, it is only the regional apolitical parties take active interest for their
own political survival. If the final execution is permanently postponed like this, the trust and
confidence of common man on judiciary will be totally lost. So long as death penalty finds a
place in our statute, the final execution should take place without causing undue delay. The
whole nation would be waiting for the verdict of assure Court on this case.

from:  V S Srinivasan
Posted on: May 1, 2012 at 18:00 IST

If these guys killed an innocent man, planned to kill him, then they deserve death sentence. It has been decades since Mr. Rajiv Gandhi been killed, still no justice. If this is the way of justice in India for a high ranked politician, then imagine getting justice for a common man. 11 yers for the President to hear the mercy petition? it cant be better....

from:  drramesh
Posted on: May 1, 2012 at 16:25 IST

It sounds sense and good to transfer this case to Supreme Court. Whenever this came before the Honble court in Chennai pro Tamil Eelam groups assembled thousands and disturbed the hearings. The Police were a silent spectator and so their is no merit in conducting this case in Chennai. The radical outfits mingled with the masses and dictated their terms. For a fair trail only outside Tamilnadu these sort of sensitive cases have to be dealt with

from:  asokan a
Posted on: May 1, 2012 at 15:51 IST

THe Supreme Court of India is going beyond the law. There is no need for the apex court to do this.

from:  Jagmohan Singh
Posted on: May 1, 2012 at 15:46 IST

No mercy should be bestowed on these deadly criminals.

from:  K.Sugavanam
Posted on: May 1, 2012 at 15:40 IST

The mercy petitions should be disposed off by the President within a specified frame work say 1 year. I hope they bring in a legislation for this.

from:  babu
Posted on: May 1, 2012 at 14:50 IST

It is good that the Supreme Court has decided to adjudicate the mercy
pleas. SC can decide the case in a non-partisan manner devoid of
political pressures. on the other hand the convicts will also get
speedier justice.

from:  hariharan
Posted on: May 1, 2012 at 14:28 IST
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