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SC to hear death convicts plea in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case on Thursday

The Supreme Court will on Thursday take up the plea of three death convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case seeking commutation of their death sentence to life imprisonment citing delay of over 11 years in deciding their mercy petitions by the President.

A bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam turned down the plea of the Centre which pleaded for posting the case for another day after senior advocate Ram Jethmalani appearing for the condemned prisoners-Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan, said he suspected that the government is trying to delay the case.

“I have a strong suspicion that they want to take time in the case so that they can file review petition (on apex court verdict holding that delay in deciding mercy plea can be a ground for commuting death sentence),” Jethmalani said.

Additional Solicitor General Siddharth Luthra also said that the Centre is considering for seeking review of the recent apex court verdict in which it held that inordinate and inexplicable delay by government in deciding mercy plea of death row convicts can be a ground for commuting their sentence.

The bench thereafter decided to take up the case tomorrow when it would hear the plea of petitioners and Attorney General G E Vahanvati will make submission on behalf of Centre on February 4