Apex court refers case of Rajiv Gandhi’s killers to Constitution Bench

PTI New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on April 25, 2014

The three convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case — Santhan, Murugan and G. Perarivalan alias Arivu. File photo   -  The Hindu

The Supreme Court today referred the matter on remission of life imprisonment of seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case to a Constitution Bench and said its interim order staying the Tamil Nadu Government’s decision to free them will continue.

A bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam said the petition filed by the Centre, challenging the Tamil Nadu Government’s decision to remit the sentences, will be decided by the Constitution Bench and framed seven questions to be decided by it.

It said that the Constitution Bench, which will take up the matter within three months, will also decide whether the sentence of a prisoner, whose death penalty has been commuted to life, can be remitted by the Government.

The court had on February 20 stayed the decision to release three convicts — Murugan, Santhan and Arivu — whose death sentence was commuted to life term by it on February 18 in the case, saying there had been procedural lapses on the part of the State Government on the decision to release them.

The apex court later on had also stayed release of convicts Nalini, Robert Pious, Jayakumar and Ravichandran in the case.

The Jayalalithaa Government had on February 19 decided to set free all the seven convicts in the assassination case.

Santhan, Murugan and Arivu are currently lodged in the Central Prison, Vellore and they have been in jail since 1991.

The other four are also undergoing life sentence for their role in Gandhi’s assassination on May 21, 1991 in Sriperumbudur.

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Published on April 25, 2014
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