The Center has requested that the Supreme Court review the order freeing Rajiv Gandhi assassination convicts… errors, abuses of process

After the Supreme Court ordered the release of the six remaining convicts sentenced to life in prison for their involvement in the 1991 assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, the Centre moved the top court on Thursday, seeking a review of its decision.

In its review petition, the Centre alleged that the order was passed without an “adequate opportunity to be heard”, that the order contains “errors evident on the face of the record”, and that it violates the principles of natural justice.

As a result of its May 18 order releasing co-convict A G Perarivalan, the Supreme Court set free six convicts on November 11, including Nalini Sriharan, T Suthendraraja alias Santhan, V Sriharan alias Murugan, Robert Payas, Jayakumar and Ravichandran alias Ravi.

DMK leader and Chief Minister M K Stalin called the ruling “historic” since it “reinforces the cornerstone of democratic principles.” In contrast, Congress described the order as “highly problematic,” “completely erroneous,” and “totally unacceptable.”

Despite being a necessary and proper party to the case, the convicts who sought remission from the court had not included the Union of India as a respondent in their plea.

…the petitioners did not file any application formally pleading with the Union of India as a party respondent, as appears from the record. According to the case, the petitioners engaged in a procedural lapse that resulted in the Union of India being excluded from participation in subsequent hearings.

Therefore, this resulted in the court lacking access to the Centre’s “vital assistance” with crucial facts, which would have evidently and ex-facie demonstrated a distinction between” the May 18 order which granted remission to Perarivalan and the six accused, four of whom are Sri Lankan citizens.

A statement from the Centre stated that “the assistance of the Union of India was of paramount importance in a matter of such sensitive nature as it has huge repercussions on the public order, peace, tranquillity, and criminal justice system of the country.”.

As a result of the November 11 order, it was erroneously based on the Perarivalan order, according to the review petition. As such, the Union of India could not assist in pointing out that, in fact, and law, the May 18 order did not apply to the remaining co-convicts… since most of the appellants were foreign nationals and had a distinct and more serious role than Perarivalan.

“Giving remission to terrorists from foreign nations, who had been duly convicted under the law of the land for the gruesome offence of assassinating the former Prime Minister, is a matter that has international implications and therefore falls within the sovereign powers of the Union of India”, according to the Centre.

It was stated in the judgment that the failure to present such crucial facts and to go to the core of the matter caused patent and manifest errors to creep into the final decision passed by the court. Apart from that, the absence of UOI assistance during the adjudication of this matter has resulted in an apparent and glaring violation of principles of natural justice and has led to a miscarriage of justice”.

In its decision, the court stated that “the order dated 11.11.2022 not only contains errors but also violates the principles of natural justice, thereby warranting a review”.


Hi, my name is Nisha and I'm an educational journalist based in India. I've always been passionate about the power of education to transform lives, and that's what led me to pursue a career in journalism focused on this area. I completed my Bachelor's degree in English from Hindu College in Delhi in 2013 and then went on to earn my Master's in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication in 2017. During my studies, I also completed several short-term courses on Education in India, Sociology, and other related subjects to deepen my knowledge in this field. I'm particularly interested in improving access to quality education in rural areas, where students often face significant challenges. I've worked on a number of initiatives to address this issue, including advocating for better policies, resources, and practices that can make a difference. As an educational journalist, I'm passionate about using my platform to highlight important issues in the education space. I've covered a wide range of topics, including the impact of technology in the classroom, innovative approaches to teaching and learning, and the challenges facing students from marginalized communities. One of the things I love most about my work is the opportunity to constantly learn and grow. I'm an avid reader and believe that reading is key to expanding one's knowledge and perspective. I'm always seeking out new ideas and insights to help me better understand the world around me. In summary, as an educational journalist, I'm dedicated to using my skills and expertise to make a positive impact in the field of education. I'm committed to improving access to quality education for all students and to using my platform to raise awareness about important issues in this area.

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