There is no legal bar on Governor Banwarilal Purohit consulting the Centre on the Tamil Nadu cabinet's decision recommending him to release seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case and no time frame can be attached for him to take a decision, legal experts said on Sunday.
“The governor can use his discretion, either way, he can decide on his own or consult the Union government to arrive at a decision,” former Lok Sabha secretary-general and Constitutional expert Subhash Kashyap told DH.
He also said there was absolutely “no legal bar” on the governor seeking the advice of the Union government i.e. the home ministry because it is within the executive powers vested with the Constitutional authority.
The Centre has been maintaining that the state government has no authority whatsoever to decide on the premature release of the convicts since the case was investigated by the CBI. Since the Union government’s stand is crystal clear, the issue will have no further movement if the governor seeks the advice of the Cente.
Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi said no time-limit can be attached for the governor to take a decision on the case and listed the possible reasons that could weigh on his mind while deciding on the petition by the convicts.
“These matters are entrusted to a very big authority and the power is of great value. The Constitution does not prescribe any time-limit for him to decide. He has to consider lot many things and the first and foremost is that the case is related to the assassination of a former prime minister,” Dwivedi said.
He also said since the Tamil Nadu Assembly in 2014 approved the decision to release the seven convicts, it is assumed that everybody in Tamil Nadu wants his release.
“Another major factor is the years that they have spent in jail. And 28 years is a long time and they have also been kept in solitary confinement when they were awarded death sentence,” he said.