SC orders release of all life convicts in Rajiv case

Governor bound by the advice of Cabinet in such cases, says Bench, refers to remission granted to co-convict Perarivalan, who was freed by top court in May by exercising its ‘extraordinary powers’

The Supreme Court on Friday ordered the immediate release of six life convicts who have been in prison for over three decades in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. The six convicts are: Nalini, Ravichandran, Jayakumar, Suthenthiraraja (Santhan), Murugan and Robert Payas.

A Bench of Justices B. R. Gavai and B. V. Nagarathna noted that the Tamil Nadu Cabinet had recommended their premature release to the Governor 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 Cabinet in cases of murder as their convictions under the now-lapsed Terrorism and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act was set aside by the top court.

The Bench referred to the case of their former co-convict A.G. Perarivalan, who was granted premature release by the top court on May 18.

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