A writ petition was filed by Perarivalan, who was in death row for over two decades, aggrieved with the inaction of the Governor to decide on the recommendation made by the Tamil Nadu government in September 2018 to grant him pardon.
An order was passed after SG Tushar Mehta had informed the Supreme Court that the Tamil Nadu Governor will decide, "as per the Constitution", on the remission of the sentence in exercise of his discretionary power under Article 161 within the next 3-4 days.
The affidavit filed by the Home Ministry on behalf of the Government has been filed in pursuance of the Supreme Court's order dated 22nd January 2021, whereby it had asked the Governor to decide the petitioner's application for remission.
The bench had earlier expressed unhappiness over the fact that the recommendation made by the Tamil Nadu state government for the remission of the sentence had been pending before the Governor for over two years.
The Ministry of Home Affairs has submitted an affidavit stating that the Tamil Nadu Governor, after considering facts and circumstances of the case, recorded that the President would be the competent authority and the Central Government will process the proposal in accordance with the law.
On January 21, SG Mehta had submitted that he had received instructions to submit that the Governor of the State of Tamil Nadu will decide the issue as per the Constitution within the next 3-4 days.
Nageswara Rao was hearing the petition filed by Perarivalan seeking release from the prison based on the recommendation made by the State Government in September 2018. In 2014, the Supreme Court had commuted Perarivalan's death sentence to life imprisonment citing the long pendency of his mercy petition. In 2014, the Supreme Court had commuted the death penalty to Perarivalan and two others to life imprisonment on account of long pendency of his mercy plea.
Nataraj, had submitted that it is the President under Article 72 and not the Governor under Article 161 who is competent to grant pardon/remission.