BREAKING: Supreme Court orders release of Perarivalan, a convict in former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's assassination case

Read Time: 04 minutes

A Supreme Court bench of Justices Nageswara Rao and Gavai today ordered for release of AG Perarivalan, a convict in the case pertaining to assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. The court had held that the inordinate delay by the governor of Tamil Nadu to take a decision on the release is subject to judicial review. 

The court has further held that the State cabinet's decision is based on relevant considerations and it is appropriate to release the convict by using its inherent powers under Article 142 of the Constitution. 

On the final date of hearing, ASG KM Natraj had argued "If the council of ministers acts irrationally, the governor is not bound to agree with them".  Earlier, a bench of Justices Nageshwar Rao and BR Gavai has remarked that the decision of the President of India on whether or not to release Perarivalan, will not have any bearing in the court deciding on the power of the Governor to refer the decisions of a State's cabinet to the President. 

In April, the bench had remarked that the concept of federalism will be destroyed if the Governor refers the recommendation of the State government cabinet to the President for approval.

On March 9, 2022, the Supreme Court granted bail to Perarivalan since he had been in prison for over 30 years. The court had further noted that the matter needs to be heard at length owing to the stand taken by the government that the State Government does not have the power to entertain a mercy petition under Article 161 of the Constitution of India, especially when the sentence of death imposed has been commuted to life.

Case title: AG Perarivalan Vs State of Tamil Nadu