Crucial hearing in Rajiv Gandhi case
Last year, a three-judge bench had stayed the release of seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi case
New Delhi: The Supreme Court will hear on July 15 issues relating to the release of death-row convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. A five-judge Constitution Bench comprising Chief Justice H.L. Dattu and Justices Ibrahim Kalifulla, Pinaki Ghose, A.M. Sapre and U.U. Lalit will take up the case on that day.
Last year, a three-judge bench had stayed the release of seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi case. The seven convicts are Murugan, Santhan and Periarivalan (whose death sentence was commuted to a life term), and Nalini, Robert Pius, Jayakumar and Ravichandran, serving life terms in the case.
Pursuant to the Apex Court’s order of February 18, 2014 commuting the death sentence to life terms for Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan, the Tamil Nadu government, in exercise of its remission powers, had directed their release along with four others. The Union government got a stay on their release contending that in cases investigated by the CBI, only the Centre had the power of remission, and not the state government concerned.
Accepting the Centre’s stand, a three-judge bench referred the matter for adjudication by a five-judge Constitution Bench. It said, “An issue of such a nature has been raised for the first time in this court”
The bench framed seven questions to be considered by the Constitution Bench, including whether the state could exercise its remission powers to release a life convict after the same had been exercised by the President or the Governor, or by the Apex Court, by commuting the death sentence to a life term; what was the meaning of “consultation” contemplated in Section 432 of the CrPC and whether it would mean concurrence with the Central government; whether imprisonment for life would mean imprisonment for the rest of the convict’s life, without remission.
( Source : deccan chronicle )