Perarivalan submits mercy plea

December 31, 2015 12:00 am | Updated November 17, 2021 03:13 am IST - VELLORE:

The convict in the Rajiv assassination case submitted the 47-page petition with documents and CDs to Superintendent of Vellore Central Prison. -File Photo

The convict in the Rajiv assassination case submitted the 47-page petition with documents and CDs to Superintendent of Vellore Central Prison. -File Photo

A.G. Perarivalan, one of the seven life convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, has submitted a mercy petition to the Tamil Nadu Governor seeking release under Article 161 of the Constitution .

In his petition, 44-year-old Perarivalan has requested the Governor to grant him mercy by way of pardon or reprieve or respite or remission of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of life imprisonment and release him at the earliest.

The 47-page petition along with a number of documents and CDs was submitted to the Superintendent of Vellore Central Prison for Men on Wednesday. Four of his advocates were present.

Perarivalan also sought an opportunity/oral hearing to represent his case in person when the council of Ministers would be deliberating on the petition, and also when the Governor is to decide on the petition. While pronouncing its verdict on the State government’s decision to release the seven convicts, a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court had, on December 2, ruled that the concurrence of the Centre was essential for such releases.

Perarivalan, who has spent 25 years in prison, said, however, this judgement “makes it clear that the power under Article 161 and 72 are Constitutional powers which cannot be touched by the courts or subjected to any fetters whatsoever except that decision ought not be arbitrary or based on exterior considerations”.

Article 72 gives power to the President to grant pardon, while the Governor of a State can exercise his power to grant pardon under Article 161.

He has also quoted the decision of a Constitution Bench of Supreme Court in Kehar Singh’s case. The Bench observed that it was apparent that the power under Article 72 entitled the President to examine the record of evidence of the criminal case and to determine for himself whether the case deserves the grant of relief falling within that power.

Referring to this case, Perarivalan stated that both Articles 72 and 161 repose the power of people in the President or Governor of a State. The President or Governor, in exercise of power under Article 72 or 161 respectively, may examine the evidence afresh/fresh evidence and can declare him innocent of the crime that he is convicted of and this exercise of power is clearly independent of the judiciary.

Perarivalan has also mentioned former CBI official Thiagarajan’s statement that his confession was not recorded verbatim. He has put forward his 74-year-old father Gnanasekaran and 69-year-old mother Arputham’s poor health as one of the grounds of urgency to consider his mercy petition. His father was now in a vegetative state, Perarivalan said.

He has also mentioned his health problems as a ground for consideration of the plea. He said he was suffering from high blood pressure, insomnia, interverterbral disc bulge, knee pain and gouty arthritis

He said the Constitution Bench judgment has held the powers under Article 72 and 161 as unparalleled.

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