Tamil Nadu Cabinet has given its approval for all convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case to be released and has conveyed its decision to the state’s governor under the Article 161, Times of India has reported.
Article 161 of the constitution states, “The Governor of a State shall have the power to grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence against any law relating to a matter to which the executive power of the State extends”.
Fisheries minister D Jayakumar announced the decision after a two-hour long cabinet meeting.
The decision was taken after a Supreme Court verdict ordered authorities to take a call on the petitions before them. Nalini Sriharan, Murugan alias Sriharan, Perarivalan alias Arivu, Robert Payas, Ravichandran, Santhan and Jayakumar have been in prison for 27 years. Perivalavan’s mother Aruppamuthal met the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and thanked him for taking the decision. Further, she asked political parties not to politicise the issue.
Last week, the Supreme Court had left it to the Tamil Nadu Governor to take a decision on a mercy petition filed by one of the convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. An apex court bench headed by Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Navin Sinha and K M Joseph gave this ruling while disposing of a petition from the Centre on its proposal for the release of the convicts to a petition filed by the Tamil Nadu Government.
On 10 August, the Centre told the bench that it opposed the Tamil Nadu government’s proposal to release the seven convicts.
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