The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed Centre's petition seeking review of its judgment commuting death sentence of three convicts to life term in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case on the ground of delay in deciding their mercy plea.
A combination picture of Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan, convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. (Agencies photo)
A three-judgment bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam and justices Ranjan Gogoi and S K Singh said: "We have carefully gone through the review petition and connected papers. We find no merit in the review petition and the same is accordingly dismissed." Judges took up the review petition in-chambers. The last judicial remedy before the Centre is to file a curative.
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SC had on February 18 commuted the sentences of AG Perarivalan alias Arivu, Sriharan alias Murugan and T Suthentiraraja alias Santhan to life imprisonment. Two days later, the Centre moved the top court contending with the verdict the Centre ventured into the domain of government by commuting the death sentence in the case. The judgement was passed without jurisdiction by the three-judge bench and instead by a larger bench of five judges as the case involved substantial interpretation of law and provisions of the constitution, the Centre had said.
The Union government's plea opposing the Tamil Nadu government's decision to release the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case awaits a final verdict from court.
While commuting the sentences, SC had left it open for Tamil Nadu to grant remissions to them under the executive powers of the state government. Within a day of judgment the Tamil Nadu government had declared remission for the convicts.
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On the Centre's plea, SC stayed the release of the convicts and said the state was expected to comply with the procedural. Remission is not automatic and that every state is obligated to follow the procedure before releasing any convict, it said.