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Release of Rajiv Gandhi`s assassins: SC to hear plea against Tamil Nadu govt

The Supreme Court will hear the central government`s plea seeking to restrain the Tamil Nadu government from releasing seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

Zee News Bureau

New Delhi: The Supreme Court will on Wednesday hear the central government`s plea seeking to restrain the Tamil Nadu government from releasing seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

A bench of Chief Justice P Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi had directed listing of the matter after Additional Solicitor General Siddharth Luthra told the court that the state government had no jurisdiction to release the conspirators.

The central government has sought the stay of the state government`s decision to grant remission to the seven convicts in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case and communication to that affect by the state chief secretary.

On March 06, the centre told the SC that the Tamil Nadu government`s decision was selective and in derogation of the rights of the victims.
The centre told the apex court bench of Chief Justice P Sathasivam, Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice NV Ramana that "the decision of the state of Tamil Nadu to grant remission selectively is, apart from being excess of jurisdiction, also violative of Article 14 of the Constitution".

It said the decision fails to take into account that "as many as 18 innocent lives were lost and over 200 people were injured as a result of the human bomb".

The centre said the action of the state was in "derogation and breach of Article 21, rights of the family and victims".

Terming the decision as "hasty and malafide", it told the apex court that it was seeking to intervene against the unauthorised act of the state government.

The Tamil Nadu government said it had sought the views of the centre on its decision to release the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case and the proposal could not be challenged before the court.

Senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi, appearing for the state, told the apex court: "You can`t challenge a letter expressing a view."

The Tamil Nadu government, by its February 19 letter to the central government, said that it proposes to release the seven convicts who have already served 23 years of imprisonment, and gave the central government three days to give its views on the proposed decision.
The proposal came a day after the death sentence of V Sriharan alias Murugan, T Suthendraraja alias Santhan and AG Perarivalan alias Arivu was commuted.

The central government told the court that in its reply on February 21, it said that the state did not have the jurisdiction to grant remission and also noted the pendency of the petition seeking the review of the apex court verdict commuting the death sentence of three key conspirators to life imprisonment.

The apex court had on February 27 blocked the release of four convicts and said it will lay down the procedure for states to follow for granting remission to prisoners undergoing life term on the commutation of their death sentences.

The release of other three key conspirators was earlier suspended by the apex court on February 20.

Rajiv Gandhi was killed in an attack by a suicide bomber of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam from Sri Lanka on May 21, 1991, in Sriperumbudur near Chennai.

(With IANS inputs)

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