The Centre on Monday informed the Supreme Court that the Tamil Nadu government had no jurisdiction to order the release of seven life convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case as such a power was vested only with the Union of India.
In its rejoinder to Tamil Nadu's reply justifying the February 19 decision to release Murugan and six other life convicts, the Centre said “the conduct of the State Government in proposing/considering/granting remission to the seven convicts is apparent in its breach of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution as the manner in which the convicts have been selected for remission is for extraneous consideration.” The case comes up for further hearing on March 26.
It said “the Union of India in its jurisdiction as parens patriae has moved this Court to protect rights of its citizens and hence the application is justified in law. The letter dated 19.02.2014 being issued in furtherance of the original decision of the Government of Tamil Nadu, the Union of India is justified in challenging the same. The mandate of Article 73 Constitution is absolutely clear in as much that the State Government cannot seek to exercise jurisdiction where it has none.”
The Centre said “the offences investigated by the CBI in the present case are relatable to the central legislations and also the Indian Penal Code, which are intrinsically connected to each other and therefore, to say that the jurisdiction for consideration of remission lies with the State Government is not appropriate.”
The Centre recalled a government order issued by the Tamil Nadu government on July 18, 2007 rejecting the premature release of the life convicts under the Advisory Board Scheme. The GO had said “the Crime is grave and the former Prime Minster of the country was killed along with 16 others. The crime was committed in a pre-planned matter pursuant to very cruel conspiracy. The petitioner did the crime with known intent. The current fight between LTTE and Sri Lanka Government may again infuse passion in the convicts to act against the law.”
The Centre while seeking to quash the impugned decision rejected the State's contention that the application questioning the February 19 decision was maintainable and not an abuse of process of law. It said “the term ‘consultation’ in Section 435 Cr.P.C. has to be read as ‘consent’ or ‘concurrence’. A material question arises as to whether after a decision on the mercy petition and judicial review thereof, whether the State can exercise jurisdiction under Section 432 Cr.P.C. or any other provision of the Cr.P.C.