TN Governor consents days-old NEET bill: What's his decision on years-old demand of Rajiv Gandhi convicts?

When Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit had last week given his consent for the state government's NEET quota bill that guarantees medical admissions for the government school students in the state, the state political leaders and various stakeholders had welcomed him for his decision and on the other hand, he has now been centered with the expectations on what's he going to do over the resolution passed by the government on releasing the seven convicts of Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. 

In September 2018, the Tamil Nadu government had recommended Governor over the release of the seven convicts, who have been lodged in the Central prisons in Tamil Nadu nearly for three decades.  The Governor has been facing demands from the opposition parties and activists to act as per the recommendation of the government and acquit all the convicts from the prisons. It's been more than two years since the government has moved its recommendation to the Governor, however, the latter has been unwilling to announce the decision. 

As Governor has been buying more time in acting upon the recommendation of the state government, which passed the recommendation under Article 161 of the Constitution, (power of Governor to grant pardons and to suspend, remit, or commute sentences in certain cases), the Supreme Court has on Tuesday expressed its displeasure over the delay caused by the Governor on the recommendation. 

According to reports, the Supreme Court was hearing the petition that was filed by one of the convicts Perarivalan seeking the directive from the apex judicial body for his early release. When the Supreme Court bench comprised of Justices Nageswara Rao, Ajay Rastogi, and Hemant Gupta resumed the hearing on Tuesday, the apex court had orally expressed displeasure over the delay. Justice Nageswara Rao said that the supreme court bench doesn't want to exercise jurisdiction and added, "We are not happy with how this recommendation has been pending before the Governor for two years".

During the hearing, senior advocate Gopal Shankaranarayan had informed the court about the delay. However, the apex court had asked if there was a constitutional provision under which the court can order the Governor to fasten the process of deciding on the recommendation. The reports say Perarivalan had applied for the remission of the sentence. 

The counsel of the Indian government had voiced against the remission of the convicts and informed that the apex court that the government has been trying to prove the International conspiracy behind the assassination and claimed that the government is still waiting for replies from some foreign governments. In a tone of reprimand, the court observed that the government has still been waiting for replies though the assassination took place three decades ago. 

Perarivalan's mother Arputhammal has been fighting for his son's release for many years. She has been petitioning the state and national leaders and pleading the Governor and judicial institution to release his son. Perarivalan is now 49 and he was 19 when he was convicted in the case. He was convicted for supplying the battery which was allegedly used in the belt bomb that had killed Rajiv Gandhi and 14 others. 

Perarivalan was released twice on parole in the last two years while some of the convicts including Nalini and Robert Pious were released on parole. As the Governor had given his approval for the NEET quota bill that was passed by the assembly in September this year, he has now been surfaced with the question on what call he would take on the government's recommendation of acquitting the convicts.