TN has no power to release Rajiv convicts: Centre

The Union Home Ministry has asserted before the Madras High Court that its approval was absolutely essential for releasing the seven life convicts in the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

It said that since it had already decided not to grant remission to any of them, the effect of a recommendation made by the State Cabinet to the Governor on September 9, 2018 to set them free was nothing but “zero.”

This was told by Additional Solicitor General (ASG) G. Rajagopalan to a bench of Justices R. Subbiah and R. Pongiappan. He also that the Centre had also communicated to Governor Banwarilal Purohit a decision taken by it in April 2018 against releasing the seven convicts.
State Public Prosecutor (SPP) A. Natarajan told the court that the Council of Ministers had only made a recommendation and it was up to the Governor to take a call.

Nalini has moved the court contending that since the Tamil Nadu Governor had failed to order her release based on the September 9, 2018 recommendation of the state cabinet.

The bench, which heard arguments from all parties, reserved its orders on her petition. Opposing the plea of Nalini, the ASG cited a Supreme Court order and said unless there was an order in the name of the Governor, it was not an illegal detention.

He said the resolution passed by the state Council of Ministers was not an order (for release). The Supreme Court had held that the centre’s consent or concurrence was necessary because the case was investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Rajagopalan said.