SC dismisses TN’s review plea on remission power

The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a review petition filed by the Tamil Nadu government against a 2015 Constitution Bench judgment that a State government has no suo motu power to remit sentences of persons convicted under a Central law and cases investigated by a Central agency like the CBI.

The verdict was based on a challenge by the Centre to Tamil Nadu’s move to remit the life sentence of seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

The review petition was also filed by one of the convicts in the case, Perarivalan.

A five-judge review Bench of Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar, P.C. Ghose, S.A. Bobde, A.M. Sapre and U.U. Lalit refused the State’s plea for review of the majority judgment authored by Justice (as he was then) F.M.I. Kalifulla.

The judgment had held that the Centre, and not the State government, would have “primacy” in deciding whether persons convicted in matters of the CBI or a Central agency should be released or not on remission.

National interest

“When it comes to the question of national interest or any other emergent or unforeseen situations warranting control in the nature of a super-terrestrial order (celestial), the executive power of the Union can be exercised like a bull in the China shop,” Justice Kalifulla had written in his 200-page verdict.

Prior consent

Interpreting Section 435 (2) of the Cr.PC, Justice Kalifulla had held that the word ‘consultation’ meant ‘concurrence’. This meant that the Tamil Nadu government should have got the prior consent of the Centre before issuing its February 19, 2014 order to remit the life sentence of seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi case. However, the individual cases of the convicts were referred to a three-judge Bench for hearing separately on facts.

‘A diabolic act’

The majority judgment by Justice Kalifulla had also made scathing observations, describing the assassination of the former Prime Minister as a “diabolic” act which shattered the great faith of an entire country. It had observed that the convicts did not deserve a ray of hope that they would be released one day.

“We find no scope to apply the concept of ray of hope to come for the rescue of such hardened, heartless offenders, which, if considered in their favour, will only result in misplaced sympathy and again will be not in the interest of the society,” Justice Kalifulla had observed.

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Printable version | May 27, 2022 2:53:54 pm |