SC to hear pleas filed by Rajiv's assassins
The Supreme Court will hear a set of petitions from convicts in former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination, seeking a stay on their death sentence on account of an 11-year delay by the President in deciding their mercy pleas.delhi Updated: May 02, 2012 02:29 IST
The Supreme Court will hear a set of petitions from convicts in former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination, seeking a stay on their death sentence on account of an 11-year delay by the President in deciding their mercy pleas.
A bench headed by Justice GS Singhvi on Tuesday ordered the transfer of the petitions filed before the Madras high court to the apex court, and fixed July 10 as the date for hearing them.
The court’s order came on a petition filed by one LK Venkat, requesting it to hear the petitions. The petitioner expressed his opinion that a free-and-fair hearing may not be possible in Chennai due to the surcharged atmosphere favouring the death row convicts.
Alleging that several supporters of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were interfering with the judiciary’s functioning by raising slogans in support of the convicts, he cited an instance when over 5,000 people outside the court raised slogans of joy soon after the executions were stayed.
The Tamil Nadu government had opposed the plea to move the case out of the high court, denying allegations that the atmosphere in the state was too “vitiated and surcharged”.
Death row convicts — Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan alias Arivu — also opposed the transfer plea on the grounds that Article 139A (relating to transfer of certain cases) gives only the Attorney General of India or the aggrieved parties the power to file such a petition.
On a petition from the trio, the high court had stayed their hanging and issued notices to the Centre and Tamil Nadu government.
The three have challenged the President’s order, rejecting their mercy petitions on the grounds of delay.