New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday stayed the Tamil Nadu government’s decision to release four convicts in the former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.
An apex court bench headed by Justice P. Sathasivam directed that the central government’s plea would be heard March 6.
The apex court had earlier stayed the decision of the Tamil Nadu government to release the three convicts in the case.
Acting on a petition filed by the Centre, the apex court had earlier issued a notice to the Tamil Nadu government restraining it from releasing the convicts and directed it to maintain status quo till further orders.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had earlier said that the state cabinet will apply powers applicable to it under the Constitution to release the three convicted assassinators of Rajiv Gandhi-Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan-if the Central Government failed to act on the same within the next three days.
Making a suo moto statement in the Tamil Nadu State Assembly, Jayalalithaa had said a decision to this effect would be conveyed to the Central Government as per Indian Constitution and as per Section 435 of the Criminal Procedure Code or Cr.PC.
She also said that the other convicts who had been sentenced to life imprisonment, namely, Nalini, Jayakumar, Robert Paes and Ravichandran, would also be released.
The Supreme Court had commuted the death sentence of three men to life in prison.
Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan had petitioned the apex court against their death sentence, arguing that there had been an exceptional delay in a decision on their mercy pleas.
Rajiv Gandhi was killed by a suicide bomber at an election rally in Sriperumbedur on May 21, 1991. Fourteen other people also lost their lives in that blast.