Perarivalan pardon case: SC to give verdict on May 18

Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convict A.G. Perarivalan. File photo

Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convict A.G. Perarivalan. File photo | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The Supreme Court on Wednesday is scheduled to pronounce its judgment on whether the Tamil Nadu Governor was right in referring Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convict A.G. Perarivalan’s plea for pardon to the President without taking a decision.

Very early in the case, a Bench led by Justice L. Nageswara Rao gave the Centre a choice between allowing Perarivalan, who has served over 30 years of his life sentence, to be released or argue the case and eventually get a judgment on merits. The Centre had chosen the latter.

Under Article 161 of the Constitution, the Governor is bound by the advice given by the Tamil Nadu Council of Ministers to the Governor to release Perarivalan. The court, during arguments, had orally observed that the Governor prima facie had no authority to transfer the mercy plea to the President. There was no role for the President under Article 161.

“We cannot shut our eyes to something that is happening against the Constitution. We have to follow our Bible - the Constitution of India,” Justice Rao had addressed the Centre.

Justice B.R. Gavai said no authority, however high, can put a spoke in the working of the Constitution.

The claim by the Centre that the President, and not the Tamil Nadu Governor, has “exclusive power” to Perarivalan’s plea for pardon had drawn flak from the Supreme Court on the day it had reserved the case for judgment.

Justice Rao had said the government’s argument if taken at face value, would leave Article 161 (the constitutional power of Governors of States to grant pardon) a “dead-letter”.

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Printable version | May 18, 2022 8:16:57 am |