Supreme Court adjourns Rajiv Gandhi case convict Perarivalan’s plea for early release

A.G. Perarivalan, one of the convicts in Rajiv Gandhi assasination case, has already spent three decades in jail. File Image.   | Photo Credit: C. Venkatachalapathy

The Supreme Court on Tuesday scheduled for January a hearing on a plea by Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convict, A.G. Perarivalan, for his early release.

Perarivalan has already spent three decades in jail.

The cardinal question raised in court is about the Tamil Nadu Governor’s decision to refrain from taking an independent decision on the release of Perarivalan. The Governor had referred Perarivalan’s case for release to the President.

This was despite the fact that the Council of Ministers of Government of Tamil Nadu had recommended his release way back on September 9, 2018.

“After sleeping over for five years in the Article 161 (pardon) petition and sitting over the recommendation of the State Cabinet to release the petitioner for more than a good two-and-a-half years, the Union of India, on February 4, has filed an affidavit [in the Supreme Court] stating that the Governor has sent the petition to the President, whereas the law is clear that Governor does not have independent discretion,” Perarivalan, represented by senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan and advocates Prabu Ramasubramanian and K. Paari Vendhan, had contended in the Supreme Court recently.

Perarivalan had argued that the “stalemate” over his release from prison was “completely political.”

The court, on Wednesday, said it could not, on the grounds of immunity, ask the Governor to not pass any order.

Appearing for the Centre before a Bench led by Justice L. Nageswara Rao, Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta requested the court to adjourn the case as he was engaged in another court.

The court, though not happy with adjournment, posted the case to January 2022.

Perarivalan had argued that he had been “under the hangman’s noose for 16 years and [had spent] 29 years in solitary confinement out of the total 30 years of incarceration”. He had suffered the pain and trauma of the death row syndrome.

“The pain was equally felt by the ageing and fragile parents due to the uncertainty between life and death, and hope and despair,” he had submitted.

The Centre, in an affidavit earlier, had highlighted that the case against Perarivalan concerned the assassination of none other than a former Prime Minister. Forty-three other people had sustained serious injuries in the bomb explosion in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu, in 1991.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2022 11:25:35 AM |

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