The Supreme Court bench led by Justice L Nageswara Rao, while hearing the parole case of one Rajiv Gandhi assassination convict AG Perarivalan today, expressed dissatisfaction over the huge delay in clearing the file sent to the governor for his consent or disapproval of the prayer or remission. The court said it does not wish to interfere, but asked why the governor is taking so long to clear this file.
For Perarivalan’s case, there is a precedent. In September, considering multiple co-morbid illnesses of the convict and high chances of getting Covid-19 infection in the prison, the Madras High Court had directed the concerned authorities to grant 30 days’ leave to T. Arputham, another convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.
Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayan said:
“After your orders, the remission file, with the recommendation of the state government, is pending before the governor for more than two years now. We had no option but to approach this court.”
Justice Rao said: “We want the Governor to pass orders. Inform us what can be done in such situations where the governor makes such recommendations. What is it the court can do in such cases?
Can we ask the Governor to do that as has been done in earlier cases?”
Sankaranarayan said: “In Nilofer Nisha case, it was a batch of cases arising out of the same remission notification and the Court exercised their powers under 142 to release the prisoners. As far as remission is concerned it’s the prerogative of the Governor and is not under CrPC.”
The court said: “We don’t want to exercise our jurisdiction, but we are not happy with how this recommendation has been pending for two years. Tell us what the law and cases are which can allow us to do it. We can hear this after vacation. Look up Shatrughan Chauhan, do some research and tell us. We will take it after Diwali vacations.”
Then, turning to the Tamil Nadu Advocate General Balaji Srinivasan, asked: “Why is the Governor taking so much time? Can’t you tell him?”
Srinivasan said: “This is a case of larger conspiracy. The Governor is waiting for a report from the CBI.”
Justice Rao said: “Larger conspiracy only deals with whether other persons are involved. Look into the file of the case.”
The judge asked Senior Advocate Sankaranarayanan:
“What about the Constitution Bench judgment which allows SC to intervene?”
Sankaranarayanan said: “We will submit a compilation and serve it to the other side.”
Srinivasan smiled and said: “There is no other side.”
The Supreme Court will hear the matter next on November 23. Advocates have the liberty to file additional documents and also case laws to show how the Supreme Court can give directions to the Governor.
-India Legal Bureau