The Supreme Court has granted bail to Rajiv Gandhi Assassination convict A. G. Perarivalan. The Court was hearing his plea seeking release from the prison after having undergone a sentence of 32 years.
The bench comprising of Justice L. Nageshwara Rao and Justice B. R. Gavai heard the plea through Senior Advocate Gopal Shankarnarayan appearing for Perarivalan.
The Senior Counsel argued for bail as Perarivalan is already on parole under strict vigilance which has restricted his movements.
Additional Solicitor General K. M. Natraj objected to it and submitted that he may be allowed parole under the provisions of the jail manual. Counsel also submitted that Perarivalan is asking for bail because his Mercy Petition is pending
ASG Natraj submitted that the plea made by Perarivalan would not stand because he cannot ask for mercy again after it being considered once, resulting in his death sentence being commuted to life imprisonment.
The ASG, while addressing the delay in consideration of Mercy Petition, submitted that the petition was made to the State Governor who was not the correct authority to adjudicate. He also pointed out that the appropriate authority to decide the Mercy Petition would be the Central Government and not the Governor of the State.
Shankarnarayan, while pleading for bail, submitted that the convict has been out on parole three times and there have been no objections to his conduct, his character while in prison has been exemplary and he has also been suffering from ill health.
Perarivalan had made a plea before the Governor of Tamil Nadu. Perarivalan in his plea to the Court had submitted that he had applied for remission to the Governor, but he had not taken any decision on it.
The Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had appeared on the previous date before the Court and had submitted that the Governor, after perusing all the documents, had determined that the President of India would be the appropriate authority to take a decision on the plea. The Bench had then stated that the Court would not be granting any more adjournments in the case.
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 were been denied by the Governor.