SC orders release of Perarivalan, life convict in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case
New Delhi, May 18, 2022
The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the release of A. G. Perarivalan, a life-term convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.
A bench headed by Justice L. Nageswara Rao invoked the power under Article 142 to release Perarivalan.
The bench noted that his mercy plea kept shuttling between the Governor and the President. On May 11, the Supreme Court reserved its verdict on the plea of Perarivalan, who was sentenced to life imprisonment, seeking premature release from jail after spending nearly 30 years in prison.
The Centre's counsel supported the Tamil Nadu Governor's decision to refer Perarivalan's remission plea to the President, despite the state government recommendation to release him.
The top court said if the Centre's stand is accepted, then the Governor will refer all such matters to the President. "Wouldn't it go against the federal structure?" the bench queried Centre's counsel.
The Tamil Nadu government counsel argued that the Governor's decision raised a serious problem and the top court should intervene.
After hearing arguments of all parties in the matter, the top court reserved its order on Perarivalan's remission plea.
On May 4, the top court did not agree with the Centre's submission that the court should wait for the President to take a call on Perarivalan's mercy plea.
Perarivalan filed his mercy plea before the Tamil Nadu Governor in December 2015 under Article 161 of the Constitution, which deals with remission powers of the Governor. The top court on April 9 granted bail to Perarivalan.
Soon after the Supreme Court ordered the release of Perarivalan, his father, Kuyilthasan and mother Arputhammal, expressed happiness and joy.
Speaking to mediapersons, the parents of Perarivalan said, "We are extremely happy at the Supreme Court order releasing Perarivalan. We thank everyone who voiced their support for our son."
His family and friends were celebrating the release of Perarivalan in front of their Jollarpettai residence in Chennai distributing sweets.
Perarivalan was 19 years old when he was arrested and jailed in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.