The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted bail to Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convict A.G. Perarivalan taking into account that he has spent over 32 years’ imprisonment despite vehement objections raised by the Centre.
The bench was hearing the plea for premature release of Perarivalan, who was among those convicted in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. Earlier, the Supreme Court had commuted Perarivalan’s death sentence to life imprisonment on February 18, 2014 over the delay in deciding his mercy plea by the Central government, which was delayed by 11 years in total.
Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, appearing for Perarivalan, said that on a non-hearing today, “I am in jail for the last 30 years.” The order of release given by the Governor of Tamil Nadu should be kept on record.
The bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao and B.R. Gavai passed the order as the Governor is yet to decide his plea seeking release from prison. The Centre objected to the relief saying the President the appropriate authority to decide Perarivalan’s request.
The Centre submitted that he had already availed benefit of reduction of death sentence to life term by citing delay in deciding his mercy plea and cannot claim more benefit by citing another delay.
Previously, the Tamil Nadu Governor had filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court saying the President can take the final decision on the release of Perarivalan. The court was informed that the Governor had submitted his reply to the President over the release and in his reply to the Supreme Court; the Governor has said that the President has the right to take any decision on this.
In fact, after Perarivalan filed a petition in the Supreme Court, the state government waived his sentence but the Governor is yet to take his decision on it. Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by a woman LTTE cadre Dhanu during an election rally in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu on May 21, 1991.