The Supreme Court today ordered the release of A. G. Perarivalan who was convicted in the Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi Assassination case.

The Bench comprising Justice L. Nageshwar Rao and Justice B. R. Gavai had heard the plea of A. G. Perarivalan asking for the remission of his sentence. A question was put up before the bench whether the Governor had the power to refer the mercy petition file to the President of India for consideration without taking a decision. The Top Court of the country held that under Article 161 the Governor had to decide on the remission himself. The Court also held that the Governor did not have the power to refer once the recommendation was given by the Council of Ministers.
Over the course of the hearing, the arguments presented by the Counsel of state were criticized by the Court. The bench had during the hearing remarked that under Article 161 of the Constitution of India the Governor is bound by the decision of the council of ministers and has no authority to refer the mercy plea to the President, the President has no role under Article 161.
Justice Rao had during the hearing observed that "We cannot shut our eyes to something that is happening against the Constitution and will have to go by the Bible which is the Constitution. There is nobody above law. There are certain powers conferred to dignitaries, but the working of the Constitution should not come to a grinding halt."
A. G. Perarivalan was convicted in the Assassination of Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and had been serving a sentence for the last 30 years. Perarivalan was arrested at the age of 19 years and was sentenced to death in May 1999 along with two other convicts. Their sentence was later commuted to life sentence over long pendency of mercy petition. An earlier pardon request made by him and another pardon request made by the state of Tamil Nadu in 2018 have been denied by the Governor. Perarivalan was earlier granted bail by the top court of the country.