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Rajiv Gandhi assassination: SC orders release of convict after 31 years

In 2018, the Rajiv Gandhi assassination convict has submitted an early release plea to the Governor under Article 161

Rajiv Gandhi , Sonia Gandhi

BS Web TeamPTI New Delhi
Invoking the powers under Article 142 of the Constitution, a Supreme Court bench comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and BR Gavaiordered ordered the release of AG Perarivalan, who is a convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.
The Tamil Nadu State Cabinet took the decision to grant remission to the convict on relevant considerations, the Supreme Court bench observed. It also said that there is a scope of judicial review due to the delay by the Tamil Nadu governor in exercising his powers under Article 161 of the Constitution.
Article 142 deals with the enforcement of decrees and orders of the Supreme Court and orders as to discovery, etc.
In its May 1999 order, the top court had upheld the death sentence of four convicts Perarivalan, Murugan, Santham and Nalini.
However, in 2014, the Supreme Court commuted the death sentence of Perarivalan and reduced it to a life sentence due to an unexplained delay in deciding his mercy plea.
In 2018, the convict has submitted an early release plea to the Governor under Article 161. The State Cabinet accepted his remission plea and forwarded its recommendation to the Governor. However, in November 2020, the apex court expressed its displeasure regarding the pendency of the issue and why the Governor kept the plea in abeyance. 
On March 9, the top court had granted bail to Perarivalan while taking note of his long incarceration and no history of complaints when out on parole.
Gandhi was assassinated on the night of May 21, 1991 at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu by a woman suicide bomber, identified as Dhanu, at a poll rally.

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First Published: May 18 2022 | 11:36 AM IST

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