T.N. recommends release of all seven Rajiv case convicts

Governor bound to accept Cabinet decision under Art. 161, says Jayakumar
A meeting of the Tamil Nadu Cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, on Sunday evening recommended to Governor Banwarilal Purohit that all seven life convicts in the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi assassination case be released under Article 161 of the Constitution.
The decision followed the Supreme Court’s observation last week that the Governor shall be at liberty to decide on the remission application of Perarivalan, one of the convicts, “as deemed fit.” The convicts — Nalini, T. Suthendraraja alias Santhan, Sriharan alias Murugan (Nalini’s husband), A.G. Perarivalan alias Arivu, Robert Payas, S. Jayakumar alias Jayakumaran, and Ravichandran alias Ravi — have been in jail for over 27 years. Santhan, Murugan, Payas and Jayakumar are Sri Lankan Tamils.
On Perarivalan’s plea
Briefing journalists after the two-hour Cabinet meeting, Fisheries Minister D. Jayakumar said that though the Supreme Court’s direction came on Perarivalan’s plea, the other six convicts had also pleaded to the Governor and the State government for remission of their sentences. The official communication about the Cabinet resolution would be sent to the Governor on Sunday itself, Mr. Jayakumar said.
Decision welcomed
Political leaders, including DMK president M.K. Stalin, welcomed the decision. Asked if the decision would stand scrutiny, Mr. Jayakumar said, “The Governor will have to accept recommendations of the Council of Ministers. There is nothing to reject.” Article 161 empowers the Governor to grant pardons and to suspend, remit or commute sentences of any person convicted of any offence against any law relating to a matter to which the executive power of the State extends. To a question on the contention that the State government could not decide on a case investigated by a Central government agency, the Minister said, “Whatever it may be, law is only interpreted by the authority concerned — the Supreme Court, the highest in hierarchy. The Supreme Court’s direction is clear.” Asked about the duties and responsibilities of the State government and those of the Governor on such issues, Mr. Jayakumar said: “Governor represents the State. He is the Executive [head] for the State. Whatever decision is taken by the government, it will be implemented, executed and issued by the Governor.” On the opposition in some quarters to the decision to recommend the release of persons convicted in the assassination of a former Prime Minister, Mr. Jayakumar said: “See, the CBI undertook the investigation. That is past. What is present that is important.”

Source ; https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tn-recommends-release-of-all-seven-rajiv-case-convicts/article24911754.ece

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