SC to hear plea against freeing Rajiv case convicts March 6

New Delhi, March 3 :

The Supreme Court will hear March 6 the plea challenging the validity of the powers of a state government to grant remission of sentence to prisoners in case of the Tamil Nadu government deciding to release of seven convicts in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

Rajiv Gandhi
Rajiv Gandhi

Besides others, the petition is by some relatives of the other victims who lost their lives during the assassination.

A bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi said that matter would be taken up for hearing on March 6 as the plea was mentioned Monday.

Contending that the power of remission under sections 432, 433 and 435 of the Code of Criminal Procedure was in conflict with the constitutional provisions, the plea said that it was the president and the governor who had the power of remission under articles 72 and 161 of the constitution respectively and this could not overriden by a statutory provision.

The petitioner have urged the court to declare that sections of the Code of Criminal Procedure ultra vires of the constitution as they could not co-exist with articles 72 and 161 of the constitution.

The assassination of Rajiv Gandhi by a human bomb in Sriperumbudur on May 21, 1991 had claimed the lives of another 14 people.

The petition moved by John Joseph, Americai V. Narayanan, R. Mala, M. Samuvel Diraviyam, S.Abbas and K. Ramasugandam had said that the state government, while granting remission of sentence, should not only keep in view the interest of the convicts but the impact it would have on the kith and kin of the victims, the society and its becoming a precedent for demands for release in other cases.

The Tamil Nadu government Feb 19 had communicated to the central government its proposed decision to release all the seven convicts. The measure came just a day after the apex court Feb 18 commuted the death sentence of three convicts to life imprisonment.

The state government had given the central government three days time to take a call on its decision.

On a petition, the apex court suspended the proposed release of the three Feb 20 and of other four Feb 27.


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