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.
Centre moves Supreme Court seeking review of its November 11 order allowing premature release of six convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. Says it was not heard in the matter as it was not made a party in the proceedings @IndianExpress
— Ananthakrishnan G (@axidentaljourno) November 17, 2022
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”.