Acknowledging that the Supreme Courts do not have the special powers of the Supreme Court, the Madras Supreme Court on Friday rejected a request by Nalini Sriharan and Ravichandran, both convicted in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, to order their release without the consent of the governor.
Supreme courts do not have the power under Article 226 of the Constitution to do so, unlike the Supreme Court, which has special power under Article 142, the first court told Chief Justice MN Bhandari and Justice N Mala.
The court rejected two written petitions from Nalini and Ravichandran today.
The Supreme Court ordered the release of AG Perarivalan, another convicted in the same case, on 18 May, after exercising the special power at his disposal under Article 142 of the Constitution. The same criterion should be applied by the Supreme Court in their case, the duo said.
The previous AIADMK cabinet recommended the early release of all seven defendants in the case in September 2018 and forwarded the same to then-Governor Banvarilal Purohit.
With no response from the governor, the convicts appealed to the Madras Supreme Court to instruct the governor to order their release.
As their application was rejected by the Supreme Court, they had filed the current petitions to order their release even without the consent of the governor.
The Supreme Court has ruled that the governor is bound by the recommendations of the state cabinet, they say.
In addition to Perarival, Murugan, Santan, Robert Payas, Ravichandran, Jayakumar and Nalini have been convicted of assassinating the former prime minister and are serving life sentences.
June 17, 2022