With less than six months for the state to go for polls, PMK chief S Ramadoss on Monday urged the Tamil Nadu government led by J Jayalalithaa to release seven convicts serving life sentence in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.
The release of the seven convicted of killing former PM Rajiv Gandhi had been a contentious issue in the state politics with most of the parties including the AIADMK and DMK demanding the same, with an eye on the votebank.
The Times of India reported that the PMK leader told the government to consider the release of the seven convicts -- Murugan, Santhan, Nalini, Perarivalan, Robert Pious, Jayakumar, Ravichandran -- under Article 161 of the Constitution.
According to Article 161, governors of state have the power to grant pardons and suspend, remit or commute sentences in certain cases
PMK spokesperson K Balu told TOI, "This option has been exercised before to reduce Nalini's sentence. We are now seeking release of all seven convicts under Article 161 of the Indian Constitution."
Earlier in 2014, Jayalalithaa had said that she would free the seven convicts in the Tamil Nadu assembly which was received by thumping of desks.
Then Section 435 of the CrPC was considered following a Supreme Court verdict which said that the state could exercise its power to free the convicts using its executive power if the centre also approves of the decision.
However, the Supreme Court earlier this month said that state governments cannot release convicts serving a longer sentence, even after they have served 14 years in prison, considering the serious nature of their crime. The court said that leniency in such cases would lead to chaos and erosion of rule of law.