Centre moves SC against early release of Rajiv killers, seeks review

Rajiv Gandhi Assassination, LITTE, Supreme Court

The Central government on Thursday filed a review petition in the Supreme Court against the 11 November order allowing the release of six convicts in the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. Approaching the apex court, the Centre contended that the order was passed without hearing it.
On 11 November, the Supreme Court ordered the release of six convicts including Nalini Sriharan and R.P. Ravichandran, who were serving life imprisonment in connection with the assassination in the case. A bench of B.R. Gavai and B.V. Nagarathna passed the order while taking into consideration the good conduct of convicts in the prison. The apex court had noted that they had been behind bars for a very long period.
Seeking a review of the top court’s order, the Centre said, “The order granting remission to the convicts who had assassinated the former Prime Minister of the country was passed without affording an adequate opportunity of hearing to Union of India.”
It said that the Central government was not made a party in the case. “No application was ever filed by the petitioners formally impleading Union of India as party respondent. This procedural lapse on the part of the petitioners resulted in non-participation of Union of India in subsequent hearings of the case,” it added.
Furthermore, it is extremely crucial to mention here that out of the six convicts who have been granted remission, four are Sri Lankan Nationals, said the plea.
“Granting remission to the terrorist of a foreign nation, who had been duly convicted in accordance with the law of land for the gruesome offence of assassinating the former Prime Minister of the Country, is a matter which has international ramification and therefore falls squarely within the sovereign powers of the Union of India,” the Centre added.
The Supreme Court’s 11 November order “being violative of principles of natural justice and wreaked with glaring and manifest errors apparent on the face of the record, keeping in view the international ramifications it entails, there is also substantial cause in the matter warranting its review and an open hearing, wherein, Union of India could be afforded an opportunity to place the correct and germane facts before this Court to assist it to arrive at a just and correct decision in the matter i.e. why the six convicts were not entitled for any relief by this Court,” the Centre further stated.
The top court in its order noted that Nalini has been behind bars for over three decades and her conduct has also been satisfactory. She has a PG diploma in Computer Application and Ravichandran’s conduct has also been found to be satisfactory and he has undertaken various studies during his incarceration including a PG diploma in Arts.
The top court had released Nalini, Ravichandran, Robert Payas, Jayakumar, S Raja, and Shriharan.
On 18 May, the Supreme Court had evoked its extraordinary powers under Article 142 of the Constitution to release A.G. Perarivalan, who was one of the seven convicts in the assassination case.

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-Ashish Kumar Sinha -Editor Legally Speaking -Ram Nath Goenka awardee - 14 Years of Experience in Media - Covering Courts Since 2008