Supreme Court: In an appeal relating to the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in 1991, the division bench of B.R. Gavai and B.V. Nagarathna, JJ. has said that the conduct of all the appellants is satisfactory, thus, directed that all the appellants be deemed to have served their respective sentences and to be set at liberty.
In the case at hand, the appellants have been convicted for offences under the Penal Code, 1860, the Arms Act, 1951, the Explosive Substances Act, 1908, the Passport Act, 1967, the Foreigners Act, 1946, the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933 and the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, 1987 for the assassination of the former Prime Minister of India -Rajiv Gandhi, and others on 21-05-1991.
The Court noted that out of the six, the death sentence was confirmed in the case of appellants S. Nalini, Suthendraraja and Sriharan, which was subsequently converted to life imprisonment on account of inordinate delay in deciding their mercy petition, and the rest of the appellants were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Further, on 09-09-2018, the State Cabinet passed a resolution recommending the release of all the appellants including the original convict A.G. Perarivalan.
The Court relied on A.G. Perarivalan v. State, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 635, where the Court while dealing with the issue that whether the Governor was bound by the decision of the State Cabinet, or he could refer the matter to the Union of India for its opinion, has held that “Governor, in the matter of remission of an appellant convicted under Section 302, was bound by the advice of the State Cabinet” and observed that indisputably, in the present case also, the State Cabinet had resolved to grant remission to all the appellants.
The Court examined the case of each of the appellants in light of A.G. Perarivalan (supra) and said that the conduct of all the appellants was satisfactory, as some of them during the period of incarceration, have obtained degrees, did charity work and some were also suffering from various ailments. Further, the Court said that S. Nalini, is a woman and has been incarcerated for a period of more than three decades and her conduct has also been found to be satisfactory.
Thus, the Court directed that all the appellants be deemed to have served their respective sentences and to be set at liberty.
[R.P. Ravichandran v State of Tamil Nadu, Criminal Appeal No. 1974 of 2022, order dated 11-11-2022]
Senior Advocate Sanjay Hedge, Advocate G. Ananda Selvam, Advocate Thiru Murugan, Advocate S. Muthu Krishnan, Advocate-On –Record P. Soma Sundaram, Advocate Arunagiri, Advocate Kishor Hussain, Advocate G. Ananda Selvam, Advocate G Muthu, Advocate Sanchit Maheshwari, Advocate Mayilsamy. K, Advocate Raghav Gupta, Advocate Shahrukh Ali, Advocate Mahabir Singh, Advocate-On –Record Anand Dilip Landge, Senior Advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, Additional Advocate General V. Krishnamurthy, Additional Advocate General Amit Anand Tiwari, Advocate-On –Record Joseph Aristotle, Advocate S. Shakeena A.G., Advocate Eklavya Dwivedi, Advocate Monika Dwivedi, Advocate Devyani Gupta, Advocate Tanvi Anand, Advocate Nupur Sharma, Advocate Shobhit Dwivedi, Advocate Vaidehi Rastogi, Advocate Sanjeev Kr. Mahana, Advocate Vaidehi Rastogi, Advocate Riha Vishwakarma, Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, Advocate N. Chandrasekaran, Advocate Prabu Ramasubramanian, Advocate Shivani Vij, Advocate Alagu Raja Bharathi. B, Advocate Bharathimohan. Advocate Priya R, Advocate S. Sabari Bala Pandian, Advocate Avinash Kumar, Advocate-On –Record T. Harish Kumar
Apoorva Goel, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief