On December 2, 2015, a five-Judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court of India rejected the proposal by the Government of Tamil Nadu “to remit the sentence of life imprisonment and to release” seven persons who were convicted for the assassination of former Prime Minster of India, Rajiv Gandhi, in Sriperambudur on May 21, 1991.
The majority judgment, written by Justice F.M.I. Kalifulla, noted:
“88. As far as the argument based on ray of hope is concerned, it must be stated that however much forceful, the contention may be, as was argued by Mr. Dwivedi, the learned Senior Counsel appearing for the State, it must be stated that such ray of hope was much more for the victims who were done to death and whose dependents were to suffer the aftermath with no solace left. Therefore, when the dreams of such victims in whatever manner and extent it was planned, with reference to oneself, his or her dependents and everyone surrounding him was demolished in an unmindful and in some cases in a diabolic manner in total violation of the Rule of Law which is prevailing in an organized society, they cannot be heard to say only their rays of hope should prevail and kept intact. For instance, in the case relating to the murder of the former Prime Minister, in whom the people of this country reposed great faith and confidence when he was entrusted with such great responsible office in the fond hope that he will do his best to develop this country in all trusts, all the hope of the entire people of this country was shattered by a planned murder which has been mentioned in detail in the judgment of this Court which we have extracted in paragraph No.147. Therefore, we find no scope to apply the concept of ray of hope to come for the rescue of such hardened, heartless offenders, which if considered in their favour will only result in misplaced sympathy and again will be not in the interest of the society. Therefore, we reject the said argument outright.”