Tamil Nadu

Rajiv Gandhi assassination case | Tamil Nadu Governor decision on Perarivalan in a week, says altered Supreme Court order

Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convict A.G. Perarivalan. File   | Photo Credit: C. Venkatachalapathy

An altered order of the Supreme Court on Friday recorded that Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit will consider a plea for pardon filed by Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convict A.G. Perarivalan within a week.

A January 21 order by a Bench led by Justice L. Nageswara Rao had recorded Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, on behalf of Governor Purohit, as stating that Perarivalan’s plea would be considered within four weeks.

In fact, Mr. Mehta clearly stated during the January 21 court hearing that the Governor would consider the pardon plea in the “next three or four days” and not a month, unlike what the order said.

On Friday, Perarivalan’s lawyers, senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, advocate Prabu Ramasubramanian and K. Paari Vendhan, made an urgent mention before Justice Rao’s Bench about the variation in what Mr. Mehta actually stated in court and what was ultimately recorded in the January 21 order.

This led the court to change its January 21 order on Friday. The latest order records that “the Solicitor General submitted that the application filed by the petitioner [Perarivalan] under Article 161 of the Constitution of India shall be considered within a period of one week from today”.

Next date of hearing

The court also advanced the next date of hearing by two weeks. The January 21 order had posted the case after four weeks.

Confusion prevailed on Thursday after the court’s order was published in the Supreme Court website late in the night.

Mr. Sankaranarayanan told The Hindu on Thursday night that he would seek a clarification from the court through an urgent oral mentioning on Friday.

Mr. Ramasubramanian said the Bench, when the case was mentioned on Friday morning, agreed to make the necessary changes in its order.

Mr. Mehta's statement in court that the Governor would consider the pardon plea of Perarivalan had come as a relief for his family and lawyers.

Cabinet recommendation

In fact, the Tamil Nadu Cabinet had recommended the Governor to pardon all seven convicts, including Perarivalan, serving life imprisonment in the case. This recommendation was made on September 9, 2018. However, the Governor had not acted on the recommendation for over two years, prompting Perarivalan to approach the Supreme Court about the delay.

Earlier this week, the apex court termed the Governor's delay as “extraordinary”.

The other life convicts are Nalini, Murugan, Santhan, Jayakumar, Ravichandran and Robert Pyas.

Though the apex court order records only the pardon plea of Perarivalan, it is to be seen if the Governor takes a call on all seven convicts as per the Cabinet recommendation.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2021 6:20:38 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/governor-decision-on-perarivalan-in-a-week-altered-sc-order/article33637229.ece

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