HC slated to resume hearing on Rajiv killers` peti
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Last Updated: Thursday, October 27, 2011, 22:21
  
Chennai: The Madras High Court is slated to resume tomorrow hearing on the petitions by three death row convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case seeking commutation of capital punishment.

The court had on August 30 stayed for eight weeks the execution of Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan while admitting their pleas for commuting their death sentence to life term.

After hearing arguments by senior counsels Ram Jethmalani and others who appeared for the three convicts, a bench comprising justices C Nagappan and M Sathayanarayanan had issued notices to the Centre, the state government and police.

The three, lodged in Vellore jail, were convicted and sentenced to death in the case relating to the assassination of Gandhi during an election rally at Sriperumpudur on May 21, 1991 by an LTTE suicide bomber.

The high court stay came as a major relief for the three convicts as their execution was then fixed for September 9 after President Pratibha Patil turned down their mercy pleas.

The court had noted a submission that there had been a delay of over 11 years in the disposal of the petitions filed by the three convicts seeking Presidential clemency.

Jethmalani, Colin Gonsalves and R Vaigai, appearing for the three convicts, had contended the "inordinate and inexplainable delay" in disposing of their mercy petitions violated Article 21 of the Constitution (protection of life and personal liberty).

In a related development, the Supreme Court had on September 15 issued notices to the Centre, the Tamil Nadu government and the three convicts on a plea for transferring out of Madras High Court the petition by three condemned prisoners.

Petitioner L K Venkata had pleaded that the petition before the Madras High Court be taken up by the apex court or any other high court for further hearing.

Alleging that several LTTE supporters are interfering with the judicial function by raising slogans in support of the three convicts, he had submitted that their petition cannot be heard by the high court in a free and fair atmosphere.

PTI


First Published: Thursday, October 27, 2011, 22:21


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