Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convict S. Nalini’s counsel M. Radhakrishnan has said that the Supreme Court judgement on Perarivalan, was a “big disappointment”.
In a statement on Wednesday, he said that he had expected the Supreme Court to lay down a law and fix a time frame for the Governor to exercise his powers under Article 161 of the constitution to suspend, remit or commute prison sentences that was recommended by the state cabinet to release convicts.
M. Radhakrishnan pointed out that the state Cabinet during the period of J. Jayalalithaa had recommended to release all seven convicts involved in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. This was kept pending by the state Governor till January 27, 2021.
Nalini had filed a writ petition before the Madras High Court seeking a direction to release her without waiting anymore for the Governor’s nod and while the matter was pending, Perarivalan moved Supreme Court which invoked Article 142 to order his release.
The Counsel for Nalini said, “The Supreme Court has said that neither the President Under Article 72, nor the Governor under Article 161, can take unilateral decisions on mercy petitions without the aid and advice of the council of ministers concerned. Therefore we were expecting a decision on these lines in Perarivalan case also.”
He also said that the release of Perarivalan may force all the other six convicts to approach the Supreme Court seeking similar relief and that it would become difficult for them to convince the High Court that it too could order such release by exercising its power under Article 226 (writ jurisdiction) of the constitution.
Radhakrishnan said that the legal team was waiting for the Supreme Court judgement copy on Perarivalan to find out whether it had provided any scope for the High Court also to order the release of the convicts. He said that the legal team of Nalini will plan further strategy after reading the verdict properly.