Supreme Court to hear Rajiv killers’ plea Oct 19


New Delhi : The Supreme Court Monday adjourned hearing on a petition seeking transfer of a case pending before Madras High Court in which the execution of death sentence awarded to three assassins of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was stayed. It listed the plea for Oct 19.

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An apex court bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya directed the listing of the plea on Oct 19 when it would also hear a petition by Davindra Pal Singh Bhullar, seeking commuting of his death sentence.

Bhullar was convicted in 2001 for his involvement in the 1993 car bomb blast at the Indian Youth Congress headquarters in New Delhi.

However, the plea by Chennai-based lawyer I.K. Venkat, seeking transfer of the case from the high court to the apex court, was opposed by senior counsel Ram Jethmalani who appeared for the three assassins. Venkat is president of G.K. Moopanar Peravai.

The Tamil Nadu government also opposed the plea for transfer. The court permitted the state government to file its reply to the petition seeking transfer of the case to the apex court.

It may be recalled that on a plea by MDMK general secretary Vaiko and advocate N. Chandrasekaran on behalf of the condemned prisoners – Murugan, Perarivalan and Santhan, the Madras High Court on Aug 30 had stayed their hanging.

Senior counsel Ram Jethmalani had appeared for the petitioners in the high Court.
The mercy petition of Murugan, Perarivalan and Santhan, was rejected by President Pratibha Patil after 11 years and four months.

Opposing the plea, senior counsel Jethmalani told the court that no question of law was involved in the plea of three convicts and it was purely based on the fact of inordinate delay in deciding on their mercy petition.

“Earlier if delay was beyond two years death would be commuted to life. This rule was changed,” Jethmalani said adding that subsequently te apex court held that other circumstances too should be taken into consideration while deciding on the commutation of death sentence into life imprisonment.