Rajiv case: Centre steers clear of controversy

The Centre said that as long as death sentence is legal, courts will continue to award it.

New Delhi: The Centre on Thursday steered clear of
the controversy over Tamil Nadu Assembly asking the President
to reconsider the mercy pleas of Rajiv Gandhi`s killers but
said as long as death sentence is legal, courts will continue
to award it.

"Since there are court proceedings, I can`t comment on
anything concerning the decision taken by the President or the
resolution passed by the Assembly," Home Minister P
Chidambaram told reporters here.

He was responding to questions on the adoption of a
resolution by the Tamil Nadu Assembly requesting President
Pratibha Patil to reconsider the mercy petitions of Rajiv
Gandhi assassination case convicts--Murugan, Santhan and
Perarivalan, and the Madras High Court`s order staying their
execution for eight weeks.

"No comment as the matter is pending in the court. I can`t
comment on the response (to be give to the court by the Home
Ministry) unless the Ministry receives the notice of the court
on the writ petition and the contents of the writ petition,"
he said.

Chidambaram said there have been precedents when people
have moved courts after rejection of mercy petitions of death
row convicts by the President.

"Yes, there have been earlier cases where after the
decision of the President, people have gone to the courts.
People have gone to court in Assam, people have gone to court
in Delhi recently. I am sure that in the past also there would
be cases where people have gone to courts after the
President`s decision," he said.

Asked about the relevance of death penalty, the Home
Minister said it was a larger question which has to be debated
in a separate forum.

PTI

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