Can’t Order Release: High Court As Rajiv Gandhi Convicts Cite Perarivalan

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Holding that High Courts do not have the special power of the Supreme Court, the Madras High Court on Friday rejected a plea from Nalini Sriharan and Ravichandran, both convicted in the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, to order their release without even the consent of the State Governor.
The High Courts do not have the power under Article 226 of the Constitution to do so, unlike the Supreme Court which enjoyed the special power under Article 142, the first bench of Chief Justice M N Bhandari and Justice N Mala said.

The bench was dismissing two writ petitions from Nalini and Ravichandran, today.

The Supreme Court had ordered the release of A G Perarivalan, another convict in the same case on May 18 after using the special power available to it under Article 142 of the Constitution. The same yardstick should be applied by the High Court also in the their case, the duo contended.

The previous AIADMK cabinet had recommended for the premature release of all the seven accused in the case in September, 2018 and forwarded the same to then State Governor Banwarilal Purohit.

As there was no response from the Governor, the convicts had moved the Madras High Court for a direction to the Governor to order their release.

As their plea was rejected by the High Court, they had filed the present petitions to order their release even without the consent of the Governor.

The Supreme Court had categorically held that the Governor was bound by the recommendations of the State cabinet, they contended.

Besides Perarivalan, Murugan, Santhan, Robert Payas, Ravichandran, Jayakumar and Nalini were convicted in the former PM’s assassination and are serving respective life terms.

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