‘On what basis did President reject my plea?’

Perarivalan interacts with Information Commissioner through videoconferencing

Updated - November 17, 2021 12:42 am IST

Published - May 11, 2013 03:11 am IST - CHENNAI:

A.G. Perarivalan, convict on death row in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, wants to know the factors the President considered while rejecting his clemency petition.

He raised this demand during an interaction with officials of the Central Information Commission (CIC) and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) through videoconferencing from Vellore central prison on Thursday. Perarivalan wanted to know the grounds for the rejection of his mercy petition, counsel K. Surendar told The Hindu on Friday.

Accompanied by a prison official, the convict had a 30-minute interaction with Information Commissioner Sushma Singh and Joint Secretary (Judicial), MHA, J.L. Chugh. The MHA contended that the President’s decision or the advice given to the President by the Council of Ministers could not be challenged in court under the provisions of Article 74 (2) of the Constitution. The Information Commissioner, however, advised Perarivalan to make a written submission of his queries, Mr. Surendar said.

Perarivalan said he was not challenging the President’s decision. Counsel who met Perarivalan after the videoconferencing session quoted him as saying that the officials gave him a patient hearing.

“We will make a written submission to the CIC soon,” Mr. Surendar said. “The outcome of the investigation conducted by the Multidisciplinary Monitoring Committee into the making of the bomb that killed Rajiv Gandhi is among the details being sought,” Mr. Surendar said.

Perarivalan petitioned the MHA in 2012 asking why the President rejected his mercy petition. Since there was no response, he sent a telegram to the CIC stating that his plea should be treated as urgent and heard on priority. The telegram became necessary in the backdrop of the secret executions of Ajmal Kasab and Afzal Guru.

The videoconference was scheduled for April 15, but did not take place that day for technical reasons. Perarivalan is lodged in Vellore central prison along with Murugan alias Sriharan and Santhan, who are also facing the death penalty in the case. Their petition challenging the inordinate delay in the President rejecting their mercy petitions is pending in the Supreme Court.

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