SC To Centre (Rajiv Gandhi Case): As You Are Not Ready To Argue, We Will Order Perarivalan’s Release

The Supreme Court Wednesday, disapproved of his action sending the mercy plea to the President saying it cannot shut eyes to something against the Constitution.

“The governor of Tamil Nadu Governor is bound by the decision of the state cabinet on the release of A G Perarivalan, who has served 36 years of his life term in the Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination case”, said the Supreme Court, refusing to agree with the Centre’s suggestion that the court should wait till the President decides on the issue.

“The Governor is bound by the aid and advice given by the Tamil Nadu Council of Ministers under the Article 161 of the Constitution. We direct the Centre to submit its response by next week. It is a matter to be decided by the court, the decision of the Governor was not even needed, he is bound by the decision of the council of ministers. We will have to look into this,” the bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and B R Gavai told the Additional Solicitor General K M Nataraj, appearing for the Centre.

Natraj submitted that the file has been referred by the Governor to the President.

“If the President refers it (mercy plea) back to the Governor, there is no need to discuss this issue at all… The President himself will decide if the Governor could have referred the file to him or not. Whether the reference is right or not, that call must be taken by the President first,” he said.

The bench further added, “If at all the Governor disagrees with the State Cabinet decision to release him, the proper course for him would be to refer it back to the Cabinet and not forward it to the President, who is bound by the aid and advice of the Centre. That cannot simply be done. We prima facie find the Governor’s action wrong and you are arguing against the Constitution.”

Filing an affidavit, Ministry of Home Affairs told the top court that, “Governor of Tamil Nadu considered all facts on records and after perusal of the relevant documents decided that President is the appropriate competent authority to deal with the request of remittance.”

“Under what provision in the Constitution is the Governor referring the case to the President? Is this not an issue in which the Governor acts on the aid and advice of the State Cabinet? What is the source of power which allows him to refer the matter to the President? Under Article 161, the Governor has to exercise his powers independently,” Justice Gavai told the Centre. The bench said they would hear and pronounce a judgment on the issue of the Governor’s independent powers under Article 161 to decide mercy pleas. The matter will be taken up for hearing again on May 4.

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