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Governor referring every decision of state Cabinet to Prez against federalism: SC

Governor referring every decision of state Cabinet to Prez against federalism: SC

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Central government why it should not release Rajiv Gandhi assassination convict AG Perarivalan instead of letting him remain imprisoned because of the protracted legal issue of who is the competent authority to grant remission — the Governor or the President [AG Perarivalan Vs State of Tamil Nadu].

A Bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai took strong exception to the Governor's decision to send every decision of the Tamil Nadu Cabinet regarding remission of sentence of Perarivalan to the President.

"It sets a bad precedent against the federal structure of country, saying he will refer every decision (of the State to the President)," Justice Rao stated.

"It strikes at federal structure. Then every time Governor will refer (matter to the President) against Cabinet decision," Justice Gavai weighed in. After Perarivalan's counsel stated in Wednesday's hearing that there is still no quietus to the issue even as his conduct in jail and during paroles have been exemplary, the Bench asked Central government's counsel Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj: "Why shouldn't we release? Why should he be caught between this who should decide release issue?"

The matter has been listed for further hearing on May 4. The Supreme Court had on March 9, granted bail to Perarivalan who had moved the top court seeking remission of his sentence.

Perarivalan was convicted and sentenced to death when he was 19 for aiding in making the bomb responsible for the assassination of former Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi. The Supreme Court had in 2014, commuted his death penalty to life imprisonment on the ground of delay in deciding their mercy petitions.

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