The convict in the assassination of former Prime Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi, A G Perarivalan was released on Wednesday after the Supreme Court (SC) had ordered his release yesterday.
The SC had invoked powers under Article 142 of the Constitution as it was of the opinion that the inordinate delay in deciding Perarivalan’s early release plea by the Governor under Article 161 warranted his release.
Perarivalan has served 31 years in prison and had approached the court aggrieved by the delay in his release despite the recommendation given by the Tamil Nadu government in 2018 to remit his sentence.
The case saw a legal battle over who would be the competent authority to decide on the remission plea, the President or the Governor. In the meantime, it caused delay over his bail order from the apex court dated March 9, 2022.
The bench comprising of Justices L Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai noted that the Tamil Nadu state cabinet took the decision to grant remission to Perarivalan on relevant considerations.
It said that the ordinate delay by the Tamil Nadu governor in exercising his powers under Article 161 of the constitution can be subject to judicial review.
The bench refused to accept the submission of the Centre that the President has exclusive power to grant remission in cases pertaining to Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860, stating that the powers of the Governor under Article 161 would otherwise be rendered otiose
The state government had the authority to aid and advice the Governor in pardon or remission pleas pertaining to cases of murder, reckoned the bench.