SC upheld the commutation of death sentence of convicts in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case
The decision was made on the curative plea against the dismissal of the 11-year delay in deciding on their mercy petitions.
The Supreme Court of India (SC) on 29 July 2015 dismissed a curative petition of Union Government against commutation of the death penalty of three convicts namely Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan of Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.
A five-jugdge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu held that there was no infirmity in commuting death sentence to life imprisonment on the ground of 11-year delay on the part of government in deciding the mercy plea of the convicts.
The Constitution Bench comprised of Chief Justice HL Dattu, Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla, Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose, Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit.
The Union Government in its plea asked a question that whether after the commutation of death sentence into life imprisonment, could the state government further grant remission of sentence to release the Rajiv Gandhi assassins.
The Union Government in third week of July 2015 told the apex court that no mercy could be shown to the killers of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi as opposed to the Tamil Nadu government's move to set free seven convicts by granting them remission of sentence.
The apex court, earlier on 18 February 2014, commuted the death sentence of the trio to life imprisonment on grounds of delay by the Union Government in deciding their mercy plea.
Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated as a result of a suicide bombing in Sriperumbudur, near Chennai, in Tamil Nadu on 21 May 1991.
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