Perarivalan release: Cases and court verdicts!

Former Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi was killed in a suicide attack on May 21, 1991, while campaigning in Sriperumbudur.Perarivalan was arrested for allegedly buying 9-volt battery for the bomb used to assassinate Rajiv Gandhi. But his lawyer has mentioned that he didn’t know the purpose of it while buying the batteries.

A charge sheet has been filed against 41 people in connection with the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. Of these, 3 were in hiding, 12 committed suicide and 26 were in prison. The 26 were sentenced to death by a special court. On May 5, 1999, the Supreme Court upheld the death sentences of Nalini, Chandan, Murugan and Perarivalan. The death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment for Robert, Jayakumar and Ravikumar, while one was acquitted and the other 18 were sentenced to life imprisonment.

Nalini, Chandan, Murugan and Perarivalan, who were sentenced to death in October 1999, sent mercy petitions to the Governor of Tamil Nadu under Section 161 of the Constitution of India. However, on October 27, 1999, Governor Fathima Beevi made an arbitrary decision without consulting the Cabinet and dismissed the mercy petitions.

In April 2000, Nalini’s death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment by the Tamil Nadu government led by Kalaignar Karunanidhi. Following this, Chandan, Murugan and Perarivalan sent mercy petitions to the President.

Only after 11 years, in 2011, the president announced that he was dismissing the mercy petitions of Chandan, Murugan and Perarivalan. Against this, a case was filed in the Supreme Court in August 2011 and the death sentence was banned. On February 18, 2014, a bench headed by Supreme Court Judge Sathasivam quashed the death sentences of Perarivalan, Chandan and Murugan and commuted them to life imprisonment.

On February 19, 2014, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa announced the release of seven in three days as per a decision taken by the Tamil Nadu Cabinet. However, the Union government went to court and got the ban.

A session chaired by Supreme Court Judge Ranjan Gogoi on September 6, 2018, ordered that the Governor shall decide under Section 161 of the Constitution regarding the release of all the seven. Following this, on September 9, 2018, the Tamil Nadu Cabinet passed a resolution calling for the release of Chandan, Murugan, Perarivalan, Nalini, Ravichandran, Robert and Jayakumar.

However, the Governor delayed taking action on the Tamil Nadu Cabinet decision. On May 20, 2021, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin wrote a letter to the President requesting that the release of all seven be ordered by the Tamil Nadu Cabinet. Moreover, Perarivalan remained on parole for several months after the DMK came to power. However, in March 2022 the Supreme Court granted him bail.

Meanwhile, when the hearing of the petition filed by Perarivalan in the Supreme Court in 2016 seeking his release came up on April 27, comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao and P. R. Kawai, they asked, “Why should he (Perarivalan) be caught between the confusion of who should be released? ? Why not release him ourselves?”.

Following this, during the May 4 hearing, he asked, “Why did the Governor send the decision of the Cabinet to the President? In 30 years there has been no problem with the conduct of Perarivalan. What is the problem with releasing him?”.

Debates erupted over who would have the power in the Union and state governments to release Perarivalan on May 11. Finally, the judges said that the state government is the most important. Following this, on May 18, the Supreme Court ordered that Perarivalan should be released.

The Supreme Court judges ordered, “There are no complaints about Perarivalan being in jail or when he was out on parole twice. In addition to his probation in prison, he has completed 12th, undergraduate, postgraduate, diploma and 8 certificate courses. It is a mistake of the Governor to delay for two and a half years without any reason on a resolution brought by the State Government under Section 161 of the Constitution. Therefore, we are releasing Perarivalan who is on bail using the special powers conferred on him by Article 142 of the Constitution.

” Commenting on the release of Perarivalan, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin said, “Hon’ble Justices have said that in the policy of the State Government, the Governor has no power to interfere in its decision. This further confirms that the Governor has no power beyond his jurisdiction to interfere in the political and policy decisions of the State Government. State autonomy is one of the greatest achievements of federalism.

With the release of the remaining 6, we will consult with legal experts after the full details of the court orders are released and the Tamil Nadu government will take steps to secure their release”, the statement said.

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