After Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa expressed her inability to intervene in the execution of the three convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, AIADMK ally DMDK on Monday said the Central government should reconsider their clemency petitions and cancel the death sentence awarded to them.
“The assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi is a crime. Key convicts in this case have died already. Since, Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan have already spent 20 years in jail, the central government should reconsider their clemency petitions and save their lives,” the DMDK president Vijayakant said in a statement.
The three convicts -- Murugan, Perarivalan and Santhan -- are set to be hanged on September 9 after the President rejected their clemency petitions.
He also said many countries had already abolished capital punishment and the same demand has risen among Indians. Hence the Central government should cancel the execution of the three convicts, he said.
DMDK is an ally of the ruling AIADMK government and is the opposition party in the State Assembly with 29 MLAs.
Meanwhile, PMK founder S. Ramadoss criticised Ms. Jayalalithaa’s statement in the Assembly saying, “if she had a will, the lives of three persons can be saved”.
“While the whole state was waiting for the Chief Minister to save the three persons, Jayalalithaa has stepped aside from her responsibility saying she can’t intervene in the President’s decision,” Mr. Ramadoss said in a statement.
Refusing to buy the Union Home Ministry’s directive in 1991, which Ms. Jayalalithaa quoted in the Assembly, Mr. Ramadoss said the Constitution was “superior in authority” than that directive and explained that Article 161 did not take away the power from the Governor of a state to appeal for reconsideration, even after the President had rejected a clemency petition.
Ms. Jayalalithaa had said the Union Home Ministry had in 1991, made it clear that when a petition for grant of pardon in death sentences has earlier been rejected by the President, it would not be open for the State government to invoke Article 161 to commute the death sentence.
Giving instances in Andhra Pradesh and Kerala in 1976 and 1957 respectively, where the death sentence of the convicts were intervened by the State government, he said the Chief Minister should take steps to save the lives of the three persons.