The Supreme Court used its powers under Article 142 of the Constitution and ordered the release of G Perarivalan, convicted in 1998 for the assassination of the then Prime MinisterRajiv Gandhi. A bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and B R Gavai said that the Tamil Nadu Cabinet had in September 2018 recommended his release to the Governor taking into account relevant considerations. Article 142 enables the court to pass orders to do complete justice in a case. It said that any delay on the part of the Governor to decide on the exercise of powers under Article 161 to grant pardon, remission of sentence etc is subject to judicial review.
Speaking to the media outside his house in Jolarpettai, Tamil Nadu, Perarivalan said the “honesty in (the) case” was what gave him and his mother, Arputhammal, the strength to fight for so long. Following the verdict, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin spoke to Perarivalan’s mother over a call.
Perarivalan, who was 19 years old at the time of Gandhi’s killing in 1991, was accused of buying the two 9-volt batteries used in the bomb to assassinate the former prime minister. He was sentenced to death by a TADA court in 1998. The Supreme Court upheld the sentence the next year but commuted it to life imprisonment in 2014. The top court had granted him bail in March this year. In 2018, Perarivalan approached the top Court aggrieved by the delay in his release despite a recommendation given by the Tamil Nadu government to remit his sentence.
Meanwhile the Congress party has slammed the Central govt over the release of Perarivalan. Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said today there is a sorrow and fury not only in every Congress worker over the development, but in every citizen who believes in India and Indianness.
“A terrorist is a terrorist and should be treated as one. Today, we are deeply pained and disappointed at the decision of the Supreme Court ordering the release of Rajiv Gandhi’s assassin,” he said. “It is condemnable and very unfortunate that the assassin of a former prime minister has been released, he further added.
“Rajiv ji had sacrificed his life for the country, not for the Congress. And if today’s government creates a situation in the court to get his killers released for their petty and cheap politics, then it is very unfortunate and it is condemnable,” said Randeep Singh Surjewala.