Can’t shut our eyes: SC on Prez’s power to decide Perarivalan mercy plea

The Supreme Court on Wednesday did not agree with the Centre’s submission that court should wait for the President to take a call on the mercy plea of Rajiv Gandhi assassination convict A.G. Perarivalan.

A bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao and B. R. Gavai said that it will place the matter for hearing and the decision of the President would not have any bearing on it, and it will examine the issue raised by the petitioner.

Pointing out to the Centre’s counsel that the question was whether the Governor had the authority to refer the mercy plea to the President, it noted that under Article 161 of the Constitution, the Governor was bound by the aid and advice given by the Tamil Nadu Council of Ministers. In September 2018,the Council of Ministers of Tamil Nadu had recommended Perarivalan’s release.

The Tamil Nadu Governor had referred the Perarivalan’s mercy plea to the President for a decision.

The bench said the Governor had no authority to transfer the mercy plea to the President.