Rajiv Gandhi murder: SC stops TN govt from releasing convicts

The Supreme Court today restrained the Tamil Nadu government from releasing four persons sentenced to life imprisonment for their role in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

A bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam directed the state government to maintain status quo and said it will hear on 6 March the Centre's plea against the state government's decision to release all seven prisoners undergoing life imprisonment.

Opposing the Centre's plea, the Tamil Nadu government said the petition is not maintainable as the Union government cannot file a writ in the case.

The state also submitted that the Centre has no locus in the matter.

 Rajiv Gandhi murder: SC stops TN govt from releasing convicts

Nalini is among those who could be released by the Tamil Nadu government. PTI

It asked as to why the Centre rushed to the apex court instead of replying to the state government's letter seeking the stand of the Union government on the release of the prisoners.

"Is the Centre rushing or you are rushing?," the bench questioned the state government and made it clear that it will first consider the maintainability of the Centre's petition before going into its merits.

"You take it from us that we would consider the maintainability issue first," it said, adding, "We would solve the problem amicably."

The bench said that every state must be aware about the procedure to be followed for the release of prisoners.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa had earlier announced the release of convicts V Sriharan alias Murugan, T Suthendraraja alias Santhan, Robert Payas and Jayakumar and AG Perarivalan alias Arivu, Nalini and Ravichandran,  all of whom were convicted in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

The apex court had already stayed the release of three key conspirators whose death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment on the grounds of inordinate delay in deciding their mercy petition.

The court had also said that Centre was “justified” in appealing to it as states were bound to follow procedures laid down in the code of criminal procedure. In case the provisions were flouted, the court, it said, had every right to intervene.

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

Updated Date: Feb 27, 2014 13:21:03 IST