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SC orders release of Perarivalan, convict in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case

The Supreme Court today ordered release of Perarivalan, a convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, invoking powers under Article 142 of the Constitution. The Apex Court was of the view that the inordinate delay in deciding Perarivalan’s early release plea by the Governor under Article 161 warranted his release.

A bench comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao and B. R. Gavai observed that the Tamil Nadu State Cabinet took the decision to grant remission to Perarivalan on relevant considerations. The Bench reckoned that the State Government is well within its authority to aid and advice the Governor in pardon/remission pleas pertaining to cases of murder.

Perarivalan, having served over 30 years in prison, approached the Court aggrieved by the delay in his release despite a recommendation given by the Tamil Nadu Government in 2018 to remit his sentence.

Perarivalan was arrested in 1991 at the age of 19. He was accused of purchasing the battery that was used to trigger the belt bomb used to kill former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and 43 others. In 1999, he was sentenced to death for his role in the case. In 2014, his death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. In March this year, the SC had granted him bail.

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