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Clemency question: The Rajiv Gandhi assassination case

The release of life convicts should be settled on legal principles alone

After failing to get the seven convicts(दोषियों/अभियुक्त) in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination(हत्या) case released by exercising its statutory(वैधानिक/कानूनी) power to remit life sentences, the AIADMK government in Tamil Nadu has taken recourse(सहारा/उपाय) to a possible constitutional(संवैधानिक ) remedy(उपाय/इलाज). It has decided to invoke the Governor’s clemency(कृपा/दयालु ) power under Article 161 of the Constitution. The earlier attempt in 2014 to remit the sentences under the provisions(प्रावधानों) of the Code of Criminal Procedure(प्रक्रिया) was stayed by the Supreme Court, which ultimately(आख़िरकार/अंतिम रूप में) held that the Centre had primacy in according remission(छूट/क्षमा) to life convicts in a case that involves consultation(मंत्रणा/परामर्श) between the Centre and the State. The Centre formally declined(अस्वीकार करना/कमज़ोर होना) to concur(सहमत होना/मेल खाना)with the State’s proposal in April 2018, saying it would “set a very dangerous precedent and lead(नेतृत्व/संचालन) to international ramifications(असर/उपशाखा)”. There is no doubt that the sovereign(सर्व-श्रेष्ठ/सर्व-श्रेष्ठ/शासक) clemency power vested in the President and the Governor is quite wide, but the Supreme Court has in the past cautioned against its use for political considerations. Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit will now have to take a call on the advice of the State’s Council of Ministers and decide whether he is bound by it. The moot question is whether he will pause to consider(विचार करना) the Centre’s opinion against releasing those involved in a “diabolical(घोर/द्वेषपूर्ण) plot(षड्य़ंत्र/साजिश )” hatched by “a highly organised foreign terrorist organisation” and either reject the proposal or seek its reconsideration(पुनर्विचार). In either case, he will be mindful of the fact that his decision will be subject to judicial review.

The Tamil Nadu government believes there is no legal bar on the convicts getting the benefit of Article 161, even though the mercy petitions(याचिकाओं) of some of them have been rejected by both the Governor and the President. But the issue has thrown up a number of questions that relate to process. For instance(उदाहरण/घटना) , what happens to the four Sri Lankan nationals among the convicts? Will they remain in India or be repatriated(प्रत्यावर्तित/स्वदेश भेजना)? Also, shouldn’t there be a case-by-case evaluation(मूल्यांकन) for releasing those sentenced for life? An omnibus order of release clearly will not address the particularities in each case, or evaluate the gravity of their role in the crime and the effect on society of releasing them. In principle, the idea that convicts who have suffered prolonged (लंबे समय) incarceration(क़ैद करना) require compassion(सहानुभूति/दया) cannot be faulted(गलती). The idea of locking away a person for life, without so much as a sliver of hope of freedom, is not in keeping with the ideals of a truly modern society. However, it is impossible to ignore the impact of such a decision on capital punishment. When lifelong imprisonment(कारावास/जेल) is regarded as a humane alternative to capital punishment, releasing life convicts may only strengthen the demand for the imposition of the death penalty — which would be retrograde(प्रतिगामी/प्रतिकूल). Although there are many political considerations behind the move to release the convicts, this case must be decided on the basis of legal principles alone.



Important Vocabulary

Synonyms: antidote, countermeasure, cure-all, drug, fix
Antonyms: damage, harm, hurt, injury, stop

2.Plot(षड्य़ंत्र/साजिश )
Synonyms: conspiracy, design, maneuver, scam, trick
Antonyms: ignorance, innocence

3.Concur(सहमत होना/मेल खाना)
Synonyms: acquiesce, coincide, jibe, accede, accord
Antonyms: clash, disagree, deny, disallow, disapprove

Synonyms: appointment, conference, deliberation, dialogue, discussion

Synonyms: benevolence, empathy, grace, humanity, kindness
Antonyms: animosity, cruelty, ill will, meanness, mercilessness

Synonyms: declining, deteriorating, inverted, lapsing, receding
Antonyms: forward, positive

7.Clemency(कृपा/दयालु )
Synonyms: compassion, indulgence, leniency, mercy, charity
Antonyms: cruelty, meanness, no mercy

Synonyms: assassination, bloodshed, carnage, homicide, manslaughter
Antonyms: birth

Synonyms: complication, consequence, upshot, bifurcation, branch, branching
Antonyms: cause, origin, source juncture, union

Synonyms: declining, deteriorating, inverted, lapsing, receding
Antonyms: forward, positive



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