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2:32 pm - Monday November 24, 2014

SC stays release of 3 in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case

murganAgencies, New Delhi
The Supreme Court today stayed till   further orders, the release of three convicts whose death  sentence in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case was  earlier this week commuted to life.  A bench headed by Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam  also issued notices to Tamil Nadu government and directed Jayalalitha government to respond to the petitions filed  by the Centre.

The will be taken up for further hearing on March 6. The Centre has moved the court for urgent hearing following  the announcement by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha  that the convicts would be ordered released if the Centre  failed to grant remission to them within three days.
The apex court, on February 18, had commuted the death  sentence of three convicts from death to life imprisonment  on the grounds of inordinate delay of 11 years by the then President Pratibha Devisingh Patil in disposing of the mercy petitions. She rejected their mercy petition in 2011.

Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in a suicide bomb attack  by a female LTTE militant on May 21, 1991 in Tamil Nadu.    Fourteen security personnel were also killed. The trial court had sentenced to death 26 convicts in  the case in 1998.  The Madras High Court, however, had maintained death  sentence against four of them only. The apex court,also, said no convict in the case  should be released without due process of law.  The apex court, while allowing the petitions, also ruled  that the mercy petitions should be disposed of within a  reasonable period of time and should not be kept pending  for years together.

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