Rajiv Gandhi Assassination: SC's Notice To TN, Centre On Convict's Release Pleas

A bench of Justices BR Gavai and BV Nagarathna sought a response from the governments on the pleas and posted the matter for hearing on October 14.
Supreme Court of India (SC) | Image: ANI
Supreme Court of India (SC) | Image: ANI

The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday issued notices to the Tamil Nadu government and the Centre on the pleas of Nalini Sriharan and P Ravichandran, convicts, who are serving life imprisonment in connection with the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, and seeking release from the prison-like fellow convict AG Perarivalan.

A bench of Justices BR Gavai and BV Nagarathna sought a response from the governments on the pleas and posted the matter for hearing on October 14. "Notice. Liberty granted to server standing counsels of Tamil Nadu and Union of India -- Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj since he had appeared earlier in a similar matter," the bench said in its order.

Nalini and Ravichandran had approached the Supreme Court citing the top court's judgment in the co-convict AG Perarivalan where he was released.
Earlier, both had moved the Madras High Court seeking the same relief, however, the High Court had refused to entertain the petition.

The Madras High Court while turning down the petition had stated that it did not have special powers that the Supreme Court has under Article 142 of the Constitution of India. Hence, it cannot order their release, as the Supreme Court did for Perarivalan in May 2022.

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The High Court had said they could approach the Supreme Court if their plea was based on Perarivalan's release.

Ravichandran, who has been in jail for 30 years now, sought interim bail until his case for formal release reaches a conclusion.

On May 18, the Supreme Court evoked its extraordinary powers under Article 142 of the Constitution to release AG Perarivalan, who was one of the seven convicts in the assassination case.

Following Perarivalan's release, Ravichandran had sent a letter to Chief Minister MK Stalin seeking the release of the remaining six convicts, including him and mentioned that the Governor has kept the files of release without consideration for over three years which he condemns as an anti-constitutional approach.

Deciding Perarivalan's plea for premature release from jail based on the recommendation made by the Tamil Nadu government in September 2018, the apex court ordered his release, while the six other convicts remain in jail.

Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on May 21, 1991, at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu by a woman suicide bomber, identified as Dhanu, at a poll rally.

(With inputs from ANI)

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