SC adjourns Perarivalan’s petition for early release

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today scheduled for January 2022 a hearing on a plea by Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convict, A G Perarivalan, for his early release. Perarivalan has already spent three decades in jail.

Perarivalan’s counsel raised in the court delay in the Tamilnadu Governor’s decision to refrain from taking an independent decision on the release of Perarivalan. The Governor had referred Perarivalan’s case for release to the President.

‘After sleeping over for five years in the Article 161 (pardon) petition and sitting over the recommendation of the State Cabinet to release the petitioner for more than a good two-and-a-half years, the Union of India, on February 4, has filed an affidavit [in the Supreme Court] stating that the Governor has sent the petition to the President, whereas the law is clear that Governor does not have independent discretion,’ represented by senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan and advocates Prabu Ramasubramanian and K. Paari Vendhan, Perarivalan had contended in the Supreme Court recently.

The Madras High Court recently directed the Tamilnadu government to file an additional counter-affidavit to the petition filed by Nalini, one of the seven life convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, seeking premature release without the consent of the Governor.

The court also directed the State to file a counter-affidavit to a similar petition preferred by another convict Ravichandran. When the petitions came up for hearing before the first bench of Acting Chief Justice (ACJ) Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice PD Audikesavalu, Tamilnadu Advocate General (AG) R Shanmugasundaram informed the court that a petition filed by another convict in the assassination case, Perarivalan, was coming up before the Supreme Court on 7 December.

At the hearing of the case last year, the Supreme Court sought to know the current status of a recommendation made by the Tamilnadu cabinet to the State’s Governor in September 2018 to release all the convicts under powers granted by Article 161 of the Constitution.

Notably, the aforementioned article empowers a Governor to pardon a convict in any criminal case.

 

NT Bureau