S S Negi
New Delhi, 2 May 2012 – Taking note of high ‘politicisation’ of mercy petitions by three death row convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case in Tamil Nadu, the Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the transfer of their cases to itself from the Madras high court.
“We do not consider it necessary to decide whether the support extended by political outfits and others to those found guilty of killing former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi may impede fair adjudication of the writ petitions… the registrar-general of the HC is directed to ensure that records of the three writ petitions are sent to the SC within two weeks.”
On completion of formalities of transferring the cases of death row convicts T. Sathendraraja alias Santhan, A.G. Perarivalan alias Arivu and V. Sriharan alias Murugan, a bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and S.J. Mukhopadhya ordered listing of their cases for final disposal on July 10.
The three convicts challenged the rejection of their mercy petitions by the President after a long delay in the Madras high court, saying they suffered in solitary cells for years when their mercy petition were pending. Due to abnormal delay, they claimed, they were entitled to commutation of death sentences into life imprisonment.
The SC bench issued notices to all three petitioners informing them of the transfer order.