MHA didn’t refer T.N.’s remission plea to President
The letter signed, “By order and in the name of the President of India” by V.B. Dubey, Joint Secretary to MHA, concluded that “the Central Government, in pursuance of Section 435 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, does not concur with the proposal of the Government of Tamil Nadu contained in their communication letter dated 02.03.2016 for grant of further remission of sentences to these seven convicts."
Aggrieved over this, Perarivalan wrote to Rashtrapati Bhavan seeking copies of the files relating to his premature release. Replying to his RTI query, the Chief Public Information Officer (CPIO) said his petition [58720/CTS-VIA/2008 dated 02/03/2016] had not been received.
Setting aside a subsequent appeal in which the convict stated that the Ministry of Home Affairs had not provided him with the relevant details, the President’s office further clarified that no information was available on record of the President’s Secretariat, which could be provided on the subject.
In an RTI reply sent last week to Perarivalan lodged in Puzhal Central Prison here, the MHA confirmed that the remission proposal was not sent to the President and a decision was taken at the highest level in the Ministry.
K. Sivakumar, counsel for Perarivalan, said the MHA letter conveying the Centre’s decision on the proposal to remit the sentences of the seven convicts was misleading, since it was signed “By order and in the name of the President”, whereas Rashtrapati Bhavan confirmed that no such file was received by the President’s secretariat.
“While executive decisions of the Union Government are taken in the name of the President, the template “By order and in the name of the President of India” is rarely used. In the matter pertaining to the rejection of premature release of the convicts, the template has been used to create an impression that the President had taken the decision...but that is contrary to truth," he said.
No legal impediment
Raising apprehension whether the decision not to release the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case was more political than legal, Mr. Sivakumar sought appropriate action against those responsible for the confusion in the MHA.
There was no legal impediment for the Tamil Nadu Governor to take a decision on the remission of sentences of seven convicts based on the recommendation of the Cabinet and as per law, he said.