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SC commences hearing on States' power on remission

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today commenced the crucial hearing to examine the power of the Union and states to grant remission for releasing convicts whose death sentences are commuted to life term with the

India TV News Desk Updated on: July 23, 2014 20:33 IST
The issue of remission was referred to the Constitution Bench after the Centre had challenged the Tamil Nadu government's decision to remit the sentences of all seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

The court had on February 20 stayed the state government's decision to release three convicts—Murugan, Santhan and Arivu—whose death sentence was commuted to life term by it on February 18 in the case.

It had later on also stayed release of four other convicts Nalini, Robert Pious, Jayakumar and Ravichandran in the case, saying there were procedural lapses on the part of the state government.

“Today Tamil Nadu has exercised power (of remission). Tomorrow other states would also,” Kumar had submitted while reading out the April 25 order of the apex court when the matter was referred to the Constitution Bench by framing the issues that need to be deliberated.

The Solicitor General had said in the cases filed by the CBI or other central agencies, the Central Government is the appropriate authority to take such calls.

The bench had also made it clear that it would not go beyond the questions which were framed in the Reference.

However, during the brief hearing, the bench had also posed a question to the Centre about how the writ petition was maintainable in the case in hand.

“How is the writ petition maintainable? You have to file a written submission on the question of maintainability,” it said.

The Jayalalithaa government had on February 19 decided to set free all the seven convicts who have been in jail for 23 years for their role in Rajiv Gandhi's assassination on May 21, 1991 in Sriperumbudur.

The apex court had referred the case to the Constitution Bench saying this issue has been raised for the first time before the court and an authoritative pronouncement is required on the matter which could have wide ramifications.

“Accordingly, we refer this matter to the Constitution Bench to decide the issue pertaining to whether once power of remission under Article 72(by the President) or 161 (by Governor) or by this Court exercising Constitutional power under Article 32 is exercised, is there any scope for further consideration for remission by the executive,” it had said.

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