It will be clubbed with Bhullar's petition against delay in disposal of his mercy plea

Even as senior counsel Ram Jethmalani, appearing for the three convicts on death row in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, strongly opposed the transfer of their petitions pending in the Madras High Court, the Supreme Court on Monday directed that the matter be heard along with the petition filed by another death row convict, Devendar Pal Singh Bhullar, questioning the delay in the disposal of his mercy plea by the President.

A Bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and S.J. Mukokhopadhaya posted for hearing on October 19 the petition filed by L.K. Venkat, president of the G.K. Moopanar Peravai, affiliated to the Congress, seeking transfer of the petitions to the Supreme Court.

With Additional Advocate-General Guru Krishna Kumar, appearing for Tamil Nadu, also opposing any transfer, arguing that the atmosphere in the Madras High Court did not warrant it, the Bench granted one week to the State for filing its response.

Mr. Jethmalani argued that the petition was not at all maintainable as no questions of law had been raised; furthermore, the petitioner had no locus standi. The law was already settled that the Centre should explain the delay in disposal of the mercy petition. In this case, the Centre had to file its response. He pointed out that the petitioner had not taken sanction from the Attorney-General before filing his petition.

When counsel S. Nandakumar, appearing for Mr. Venkat, said the atmosphere in the High Court and the State was not conducive for a fair trial, the Bench said it was not concerned about the political atmosphere. Counsel said that since the Supreme Court was already hearing the Bhullar case, it should get the petition transferred for hearing to avoid multiplicity of proceedings.

More In: Tamil Nadu | National | News