The Supreme Court, on November 11, ordered for the immediate release of Six convicts of Rajiv Gandhi case.
They are serving life sentence for more than three decades in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.
The six convicts are: Nalini, Ravichandran, Jayakumar, Suthenthiraraja @ Santhan, Murugan and Robert Pius.
The Court accepted the petitions of the jailed convicts saying that their conduct in the prison have been found satisfactory and they have been in prison for a long time.
Its decision demonstrates that governors who are appointed cannot interfere with decisions of elected governments.
A Bench of Justices B. R. Gavai and B. V. Nagarathna noted that the Tamil Nadu State Cabinet had recommended their premature release to the Governor under Article 161 in September 2018.
The Governor, instead of taking a call, had passed on their files to the Centre.
The Governor was bound by the advice of the State Cabinet in cases of murder as their convictions under the now-lapsed Terrorism and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act was set aside by the apex court.
The Bench referred to the case of their former co-convict A.G. Perarivalan.
He was granted premature release by the apex court on May 18 (2022) in exercise of its extraordinary powers under Article 142 of the Constitution (For doing complete justice).
The May judgment had concluded that the State of Tamil Nadu, and not the Union, had exclusive power to recommend remission in the case.
The TADA or Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act trial court had initially sentenced 26 people to death in the case.
In 1999, a few years after the TADA Act was allowed to lapse, the Supreme Court upheld the conviction of only seven people, releasing all others.
The SC order observed none of those convicted was part of the nucleus of the assassination team.