CHENNAI: Affirming that the signature of the Governor is mandatory for ordering premature release of the convicts in former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, the Madras High Court on Wednesday said it can’t interfere with the functioning of the Governor or set a time frame for him to act.
The first bench headed by Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari made the observation while hearing a petition filed by Nalini, one of the seven convicts, seeking orders for premature release from jail without Governor’s consent. The bench also asked Advocate General (AG) R Shunmugasundaram to get explanation whether the Governor had forwarded the files of all the seven convicts, based on the Cabinet recommendation, to the President or despatched only the papers related to AG Perarivalan.
The CJ stated the Governor cannot take a decision on his own but shall act upon the decision of the council of ministers. The CJ made the observations responding to the contention of Nalini’s counsel M Radhakrishnan the Governor can’t sit on the file sent by the State on the 2018 recommendation of the Cabinet for premature release of the convicts. Governor may sit on the file for a month but can’t do so for 42 months, said Radhakrishnan, adding that the Governor has been ignoring the SC’s order and committing contempt of court every day.
Citing the recent SC order granting bail to Perarivalan, the counsel for Nalini sought bail for her on the same lines. However, the bench reiterated it can’t pass any orders and wanted the counsel to show if there was any precedent. The AG recalled the submission of the Centre before the SC that the State has no powers to release the convicts. The matter was adjourned by a week.