A Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam has decided to send the Rajiv killers release issue to the larger, five member Constitutional bench. The issue is not limited to CRPC, but has acquired a new level of complication, getting into center – state rights issue, the bench observed while giving the order.
Of all the seven convicts, three were awaiting the carrying out of the death sentence on them since 2011, after a 11 year delay in taking a decision on their mercy plea by the President. The Madras High Court stayed carrying out the death sentence. On February 18th, a Supreme Court bench citing inordinate delay, has reduced the death sentence to life imprisonment. The very next day, the Tamil Nadu government has announced that with the special powers accorded to it within CRPC, it will release all the seven convicts. The Center has approached the SC immediately and got a stay on the TN government order.
As the issue now has run into rough weather, with the Center and State both claiming that they are the right authority to take a decision in the regard, the apex court has felt that it is better for a Constitutional Bench to discuss the issue.