In a massive development pertaining to the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the release of AG Perarivalan, one of the life convicts in the case, who has been behind bars for the last 31 years. Following the SC order, Perarivalan arrived at his house and celebrated the victory with his mother, Arputhammal. Speaking about the release, Perarivalan stated that it was his ‘mother's resilience’ that brought ‘justice’ to him in the case.
The decision to release the convict comes as a judgement on whether the Tamil Nadu governor was constitutionally right in referring Perarivalan's plea for pardon to the President of India without taking a decision. Speaking about the victory in the case, Perarivalan lauded his mother Arputhammal and thanked her for her ‘suffering’ through 31 years. Arriving at his residence, Perarivalan was seen hugging his mother while distributing sweets to his family members and other supporters.
“My mother's sacrifice and her resilience. She has continuously been fighting for justice for the past 31 years. This is a major win for all that my mother has endured, the pain, the suffering all these years,” he said while speaking to the media. “I want to also thank family, my sisters, father everyone. It is their love and well wishes that have supported me so this long,” Perarivalan further added.
The apex court in its order also noted that no exercise under Article 161 can have an inexplicable delay and it can be subjected to judicial review. Earlier, the Tamil Nadu government asked Governor R. N. Ravi to utilise the power under Article 161 of the Indian Constitution and grant a pardon to Perarivalan and other convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. The governor, however, referred the matter to the President of India, on which he has to take a call.
On the Tamil Nadu government's decision to pardon the convicts, the Supreme Court noted that the state cabinet of Tamil Nadu had taken its decision based on relevant considerations. The apex court further added that in the exercise of Article 142, it is appropriate for the court to release the convict. It is pertinent to mention here that on March 9, the SC granted bail to AG Perarivalan on the grounds that the convict had already served the last 31 years in jail. After taking CM charge, MK Stalin in 2021 had written to President Ram Nath Kovind to accept the recommendation made by the Tamil Nadu government in 2018 to release all seven convicts in the case.