Centre in a quandary over convicts' release

The Tamil Nadu government's decision to release Rajiv Gandhi assassination convicts has come as a double-edged sword for the Centre.

Though the Congress and the Centre have made its unhappiness over the Jayalalithaa-led government's move aimed at reaping a political harvest during the Lok Sabha polls, the UPA dispensation has not made it clear its plan to tackle the emotional issue.

With the state almost setting a three-day deadline, it is to be seen whether the Centre will immediately move the Supreme Court seeking a revision of its judgement commuting death sentence of the three convicts to life imprisonment.

If the matter is taken up by the apex court, then the Tamil Nadu government may not be in a position to move ahead with the release of the prisoners.

The state government has the right to suspend, remit or release a prisoner under Sections 432 and 433 of CrPC but if the offence committed by the convict falls under a central law, the state has to consult the Centre and take its permission under Section 435. The state government has also said it will wait for three days for the Centre's reply and will move ahead if it does not get one.

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