In India, a life sentence is rarely a jail term until death. If a convict given a life sentence had a record of good behaviour during his/her period of incarceration, he/she is duly entitled to remission of the sentence and is also entitled to be released in due course. Why, then, should Rajiv Gandhi’s assassins be denied this legal redress which is available to any other convict who is given a life sentence?
All civilised people are in agreement with the Centre’s contention that the release of Rajiv Gandhi’s assassins is legally untenable. But, it should introspect how far it is legally tenable for it to doze inordinately over mercy pleas. The Congress was in power for a decade. As an individual, Rahul Gandhi’s pain is deep. But he cannot deny that being near the centre of power, he could have influenced things. What about those who bore the brunt of violence in the Delhi and Gujarat riots? Has he thought about them?
There is no point in directing fire at the Tamil Nadu government. Indecisiveness by our politicians and our legal system appear to help those convicted more than the victims. The episode shows that there is no justice for those who were killed along with Rajiv Gandhi.
It is shameful that murder is being exploited in the name of religion, caste, language and now votes. People must shun voting for political parties that appear to be exploiting people for votes on this count. Those who killed the former Prime Minister and others deserve exemplary punishment.
The Supreme Court’s decision was not based on the merit or demerit of the case, or the assassins being innocent, but on the very sound dictum that says that “justice delayed is justice denied.” Rahul Gandhi, instead, should question the former Law Ministers and Presidents who had no answer to this for well over 11 years and for no logical reason. The trauma of the convicts could have been avoided if there was swift punishment following 1991. It is universal law that one cannot be punished twice for the same offence, which constitutes “double jeopardy.”
The drama in Tamil Nadu is the result of a diabolically calculated move to grasp with alacrity the handle provided by the Supreme Court. In the midst of all this is a scene where party after party is upset at having been outwitted, especially those who run with the hare and hunt with the hounds on the Sri Lankan Tamil issue.