Hailing Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa for taking the right decision to release former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s assassins, noted advocate and former Union Law Minister Ram Jethmalani, opposing death sentence, said that delay exceeding two years in the execution of death sentence should be considered sufficient to invoke Article 21 and demand quashing of the sentence.
Speaking at a function where he was felicitated by MDMK chief Vaiko for saving the assassins from the gallows, Jethmalani complimented the Chief Minister for her decision to release the seven convicts and hoped she would stick to her decision. Hitting out at Congress for opposing the release of the convicts, he said some sycophants in Congress opposed the move for electoral gains. Talking about Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan, he said the trio had been living in the shadow of the noose for over 23 years. “It was like undergoing 15 life sentences,” Jethmalani said.
Quoting Justice O Chinappa Reddy, he said the judge in his verdict 50 years ago stated that any delay in carrying out the death sentence beyond two years should be considered sufficient to entitle the person under sentence of death to invoke Article 21.
Justice Sadasivam just did what Justice Chinappa Reddy did 50 years ago, Jethmalani said hailing the judgement.
Jethmalani said he opposed death penalty and quoted British philosopher of law Jeremy Bentham that human justice is fallible.
He said the courts should not inflict sentences that are irrevocable and he is for the abolition of death sentence.Interestingly, Jethmalani also hit out at the India-Sri Lanka peace accord signed in 1987 stating that it was the great betrayal of Indian interest. He said LTTE was created by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi for the protection of Indian interests.
“They were trained by our own agency RAW. When the Chinese and the Pakistanis were establishing their power in Sri Lanka, Indira wanted some force inside Sri Lanka to safeguard our Indian interests,” he said.