The Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday sought the Centre’s views on its decision to release the seven people convicted of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination.
In a formal communication, chief secretary K Gnanadesikan wrote to Union home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, seeking the Centre’s views on the release of the seven convicted in the case. The letter comes a week after one of the convicts, Nalini Sriharan, appealed to Jayalalithaa for her release.
Last year, Nalini also filed a writ petition in the Madras high court in this regard.
A state government is required to consult the Centre before exercising its powers under Section 432 of the CrPC to release convicts in a case that was investigated and tried by the Central Bureau of Investigation.
With the official communication, the AIADMK government appears to be willing to release the convicts — a popular demand among political parties in the state.
However, even if the Centre rejects the suggestion and responds with a writ petition, as it did in 2014, Jayalalithaa can claim to have tried her best and blame the Central government, said an analyst.
The Supreme Court had raised legal and constitutional questions after the Centre’s 2014 writ petition and posted the matter for a three-member bench, but the case is yet to be listed, according to the chief secretary.
“Now the Tamil Nadu government has received petitions from the convicts...with requests to release them as they have all spent more than 20 years in prison,” said the chief secretary.
“The government of Tamil Nadu has decided to remit the sentences of life imprisonment and release the seven persons.”
He further clarified that the communication was “without prejudice to our right to move the Supreme Court to review its judgment dated December 2, 2015, wherein the Constitution bench had taken the view that the word ‘consultation’ used in Section 435 of CrPC means ‘concurrence’”..