PMK happy over SC line on Rajiv case convicts, asks TN govt to remind Governor

PMK leader said the seven convicts were not seeking their release without undergoing punishment and they had been in prison for about 29 years. | File photo

Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) on Thursday (February 13) urged the ruling AIADMK government in Tamil Nadu to remind the state Governor Banwarilal Purohit about the Cabinet recommendation pending with him favouring the release of all seven Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convicts.

Expressing happiness over the Supreme Court days ago asking the state government to approach Purohit over this, the PMK, an ally of the ruling party, said the top court’s views were an indication that the matter was headed towards a ‘happy end.’

Seeking the early release of all the Rajiv case convicts, PMK founder S Ramadoss said, “The Governor should do his duty as per the Constitution without unnecessary delay. The Tamil Nadu government should remind him to do so.”

The PMK leader, in a statement here, said the seven convicts were not seeking their release without undergoing punishment and they had been in prison for about 29 years.

“There is a provision in the Constitution for their release. The Cabinet, utilising it, sent its recommendation,” he said adding there were reasonable grounds for their
release.

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The Cabinet made the recommendation on September 9, 2018 and it was pending with the Governor for 522 days as of today (February 13), he said. Citing the Supreme Court saying that Governor cannot “sit indefinitely on the file,” Ramadoss said Purohit should
realise it.

On February 11, appearing for Tamil Nadu government, advocate Balaji Srinivasan submitted to a Supreme court bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and Deepak Gupta that they have no information as to what decision the governor has taken on the mercy petitions of the Rajiv case convicts.

“The Cabinet had passed a resolution on September 9, 2018 for the premature release of the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convicts and recommended it to the governor. We have no information as to what decision the governor has taken on the mercy petitions filed by the convicts under Article 161. We cannot control the decision of the governor as he is a superior authority,” he said.

To this, the bench said, “You (state) can ask him as the courts cannot direct the governor. He cannot sit indefinitely on the file. As governor is the representative of the state government, you can request him to know about his decision”.

On February 18, 2014, the top court had commuted the death sentence of Perarivalan to life imprisonment, along with that of two other prisoners – Santhan and Murugan – on grounds of a delay of 11 years in deciding their mercy pleas by the Centre.

(With inputs from agencies)

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