NEW DELHI:The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its verdict on constitutional issues arising out of Tamil Nadu government’s decision to set free the convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, including the power of States to remit sentences.
A five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu would authoritatively deal with questions raised by the smaller Bench while staying the State government’s decision to set free seven convicts in the sensational case.
The Bench heard the arguments for 11 days by various parties in the case. including Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, who appeared for the Centre.
The court would be dealing with seven issues framed by the smaller Bench on the scope of executives’ power of remission. It would decide whether State governments also have power of remission in cases where central agencies like CBI are the prosecutor.
The issue of such a nature has been raised for the first time in this court, which has wide ramification in determining the scope of application of power of remission by the executives, both the Centre and the State.
It had said the Constitution Bench would decide whether the sentence of a prisoner, whose death penalty has been commuted to life, can be remitted by the government. The Bench would also decide whether life imprisonment meant jail term for rest of the life or a convict has a right to claim remission, it had said.
Another issue for the Constitution Bench to decide is whether a special category of sentence could be provided for cases where death penalty might be substituted by imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term in excess of 14 years and to put that category beyond application of remission. It will also rule on whether the Union or the State has primacy over the subject matter enlisted in the concurrent list of the 7th Schedule of the Constitution for exercise of power of remission.