New Delhi: In a setback to chief minister J. Jayalalithaa, the Supreme Court on Thursday stayed the Tamil Nadu government’s decision to release four more convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.
The apex court has also issued a notice to the state government on this. An apex court bench, headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam, passed the order.
The Centre has challenged Tamil Nadu’s decision to release all seven convicts jailed in the assassination case, following an apex court order two weeks ago commuting the death sentences of three to life. The other four were already serving life sentences.
The bench had agreed to hear the plea after Additional Solicitor General Siddharth Luthra told the apex court that the Tamil Nadu government had no jurisdiction to release the convicts.
Last week, responding to a petition by the Centre, the Supreme Court had stayed the release of three of seven convicts - Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan - whose death sentence was commuted because of ‘inordinate delay’ in deciding their mercy pleas.
Within 24 hours of that order, the Tamil Nadu government had decided to set free all seven. The four serving life sentences are Murugan's wife Nalini Sriharan, Robert Pious, Jayakumar and Ravichandran.