The Governor’s powers of pardon or remission under Article 161 of the Constitution have been in the spotlight with the Supreme Court judgment ordering the release of A.G. Perarivalan, one of the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. In 2018, the then Tamil Nadu cabinet had recommended to the Governor that all the seven convicts be released. The Raj Bhavan sat on the recommendation before forwarding it the President for advice. This month, the Supreme Court ruled that a Governor is bound by the State government’s advice in matters relating to commutation/remission of sentences under Article 161. The Court invoked its extraordinary power under Article 142 in ordering the release of Perarivalan, who had already spent over 30 years in prison. This has raised questions about the limits, if any, to a State government’s recommendation to the Governor to pardon or remit.
Here we discuss questions arising from the case, including those relating to the Office of the Governor, judicial delays and the Perarivalan judgment’s value as a precedent.
Guests: Kaleeswaram Raj, a Supreme Court advocate, author and legal columnist; P. Wilson, a senior advocate and a DMK MP in the Rajya Sabha
Host: Krishnadas Rajagopal
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