Stalin said the apex court verdict has spelt out that the Governor has no right to interfere in the policy decision of the state government.

File photo of MK StalinFile photo: PTI
news Court Thursday, May 19, 2022 - 08:23

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Wednesday, May 18, said the Supreme Court's verdict declaring AG Perarivalan a free man has firmly established the state government's right. “The verdict is a huge victory for the principles of federalism and state autonomy,” he said. Recalling the hearings in the Perarivalan case before the apex court, Stalin said the state government's arguments were on establishing its rights on the matter. The government argued that it had full authority to release Perarivalan since Section 302 (Murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) fell under public order covered in the State-list of the Constitution, he said in a statement.

Welcoming the release of Perarivalan, Stalin said the apex court verdict has spelt out that the Governor has no right to interfere in the policy decision of the state government and that it is very significant. Also, the judgement said the court would interfere if the Governor does not act and it has also been made clear that in such matters, there is no need to knock at the door of the Union government, he added.

While the AIADMK cabinet in 2018 had recommended the release of seven convicts in the case — Murugan, Santhan, Perarivalan, Jayakumar, Robert Payas, Jayachandran and Nalini — to then Governor Banwarilal Purohit, no decision had been taken on the matter, Stalin said.

Meanwhile, AG Perarivalan on Wednesday celebrated the Supreme Court verdict directing his release by playing the Tamil percussion instrument 'Parai' and now wants to breathe the air of freedom before thinking about his future, as the apex court ruling put an end to his three-decade prison term. The news of the apex court allowing him to walk free was received with great jubilation by his family, relatives and several pro-Tamil outfits in Tamil Nadu.

Political parties — including the ruling DMK and opposition AIADMK, barring the Congress and BJP, wholeheartedly welcomed the verdict, with the Congress announcing a protest on Thursday. TNCC President K S Alagiri said while "we don't want to criticise" the SC judgement, we want to affirm that they (the seven convicts) are murderers and not innocent."

Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was killed by a suicide bomber of the LTTE at an election meeting in Tamil Nadu's Sriperumbudur in 1991. Perarivalan was charged with procuring batteries for the bomb used in Gandhi's assassination. He was 19 years old when he was arrested. Initially handed capital punishment by a special court in Chennai which was later commuted to life term, Perarivalan said he was against death sentence.

"I firmly believe there is no need for capital punishment. Not just for mercy...many judges, including Supreme Court chief justices, have said so and there are many examples. Everybody is human," he said, with his mother Arputhammal and relatives by his side. "I have just come out. It has been 31 years of legal battle. I have to breathe a bit. Give me some time," he said when reporters asked how he felt as a "free bird" and what his future plans were.

"Many unknown people have supported us. I don't know many people. I thank all of them," an emotional Arputhammal said while recalling the "31 year battle" her son endured.

Stalin also spoke to Arputhammal over the phone. Perarivalan, his mother and others later met the Chief Minister. Later, speaking to reporters, he said the DMK had in its election manifesto ahead of the 2021 state Assembly polls mentioned that it would strive for the release of the seven convicts. Perarivalan has been released on humanitarian grounds and on the basis of human rights, which was welcome, he added. "Though delayed, this is a historic verdict," Stalin said.

Regarding the other six convicts, the government will hold discussions with legal experts on their release after going through the details of the judgement in this case, the Chief Minister added.

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