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Congress 'deeply saddened' by convict Perarivalan's release, ally DMK welcomes SC order

New Delhi: The Congress on Wednesday said it was "deeply saddened" by the Supreme Court order to release AG Perarivalan, a convict in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, and said the apex court had exercised its power due to "inaction of the government".

The Congress stance is different from that of its Tamil Nadu ally DMK which has welcomed the Supreme Court order. Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said that the then AIADMK-BJP government had recommended release of all seven persons convicted for the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. The recommendation of the cabinet of the AIADMK-BJP government were sent to the then Tamil Nadu governor who did "not accept or reject, instead referred the matter to President of India," Surjewala said.
He added President of India also did not take a decision.

The Congress leader the BJP-led government of "duplicity and doublespeak" on terrorism.
However, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Wednesday welcomed the release of Perarivalan.
Perarivalan, his mother Arputhammal, and other members of their family met Stalin in Chennai.
The Supreme Court earlier in the day ordered the release of Perarivalan, while invoking its extraordinary power under Article 142 of the Constitution. Article 142 of the Constitution allows the Supreme Court to pass any order necessary to do complete justice in any case or matter pending before it.

Stalin said the convict has "lost over 30 years" in jail and now can take a fresh breath of freedom.
"The release of AG Perarivalan is a welcoming one. Perarivalan has lost over 30 years in jail and now he is to take a fresh breath of freedom and I wish him well," Stalin told reporters here.
The Chief Minister said that the "judgment has not just upheld human rights but the state rights as well".
The apex court in its judgment held that the decision of the Governor to refer the mercy plea of Perarivalan to the President of India has no constitutional backing.

In 2018, the Tamil Nadu government had asked the Governor to utilise the power under Article 161 of the Indian Constitution and pardon Perarivalan and six other convicts in the case.
The Governor, without accepting or rejecting the plea, had referred the matter to the President. When Perarivalan received no response to his mercy plea for years, he moved to the Supreme Court.
Stalin said the governor "has no right to interfere in the matters of the state".

"The governor does not have to ask the Centre for the decisions of the state. This is a huge victory for the state right as well."
About the release of other six convicts, the Chief Minister said they will see what legal action can be taken.
"After the full details come out from the SC, we will see what legal action can be taken to initiate the release of the six other convicts," he said.
Stalin said Arputhamma, mother of Perarivalan, has gone to all extremes to get freedom for her son. "I wish her well as well," he said.

The top court, while releasing Perarivalan, took into consideration his good conduct in jail, medical condition, educational qualifications (he acquired while in custody), and the pendency of his mercy plea with the Tamil Nadu Governor.
It also said that the inordinate delay in deciding Perarivalan's early release plea by the Governor under Article 161 also warranted his release.
During the hearing, the bench disagreed with the Central government's suggestion that it (the court) should wait till the President's decision on Perarivalan's mercy plea. (ANI)

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