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Madras High Court calls on Governor to make a decision on the release of Rajiv Gandhi Assassination case convicts

The Madras High Court orally observed on Wednesday that the State Governor should make a decision on Tamil Nadu Government’s recommendation to release the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

 The bench consisting of Justices N Kirubakaran and V.M. Velumani was hearing a habeas corpus plea by Arputham Ammal, the mother of the convict Perarivalan. Ms. Arputham urged the court to intervene and grant her son parole for 90 days due to his deteriorating health condition.

"Perarivalan is very ill and has high blood pressure. We want him to be able to stay at home during the pandemic, in order to avoid infections," said his lawyer, Advocate Sivakumar. Perarivalan is currently having to visit doctors every 15 days due to an ongoing infection.

Referring to the governor, the court said ‘A time limit is not prescribed for deciding on the case, as trust and faith is attached to such a position of high constitutional authority. However, if the authority fails to take any decision within a reasonable time, then the court has to intervene.’

Ms. Arputham’s petition cited the number of coronavirus cases in Puzhal prison and the senility of Perarivalan’s parents to grant him parole. The state prosecution argued that a parole cannot be granted in a space of less than two years and his last parole lasted from November 2019 to January 2020.

The bench then directed the state prosecution to file a detailed counter on granting parole for 90 days and adjourned the next hearing to July 29.

The Tamil Nadu government had recommended in 2018 to release the seven convicts in the case who had served nearly 30 years in prison. Earlier this year it was revealed that India’s central government has rejected the Tamil Nadu government’s proposition to avoid “international ramifications”.

Read more from BBC Tamil here, The New Indian Express here and The News Minute here.

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