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Kishna Ayer writes CM Jayalalitha

Former Supreme Court Judge, V.R. Krishna Iyer. File photo: Vipin Chandran - File photo courtesy: The Hindu
BY V.R. KRISHNA IYER

Death Penalty to Rajive's killers: Here is full text of the final appeal to Chief Minister Jeyalalithaa by former justice V.R.Krishan Iyer.

Madam Jayalalithaa,

(August 30, Cochin, Sri Lanka Guardian) Three young lives vibrant with youth, their future, full of felicity is in your hands and in that sense you can decide whether they have a right to life any longer. There is a death sentence against the three to be executed by your executive power in fulfillment of the judicial direction of Supreme Court of India. They are Tamils held guilty by the Supreme Court but you have that rare clemency power vested in you by the Constitution of India to be exercised in odd faculty. The people of Tamil Nadu by a historic electoral verdict vested this marvelous power in your hands having elected you as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. Those three lives now depend for their survival on your compassion and kindly conviction.

I have appealed to you on an earlier occasion to save those three lives in exercise of the noble power of destiny vested in you. As the hour of destiny for execution is approaching near with a grave impulse of Godly divinity, I appeal to you and your noble instinct to exercise your clemency power and commutation to transform their death sentence into life term and thereby earn the gratitude of the living generation of Indians especially Tamils who will be grateful to you for saving three lives. Mahatma Gandhi has always urged against death sentence and in humble way I move you to respond to that divine spark to commute the death sentence which once implemented can never be recalled by man. God gives life but as the Mahatma mentioned, it shall not be taken away by man or by the sovereign power of the State. Millions of tamilians will be ever grateful to you if by compassion you will save these three lives. I will be the first to be obliged to you if you will exercise your power and make these three lives from the jaws of death and give them a span of vibrant life. Madam Jayalalithaa, as the noblest Tamil living, I plead with you to exercise this divine right to save life. The whole population of living Tamils will be ever obliged to you and keep you in high place of history as one of the finest rulers of Tamil Nadu who saved lives in response to the divine call of emergency. We of the Tamil population everywhere in the world will remember you as a symbol of divine felicity because life is divine and to deprive it is demoniac.

May you live long and gentle and make the people of Tamil Nadu a great generation, a glorious page in the history of its great culture rich with wonder.

My last appeal is to your conscience which is ever life with the flame of humanity, mercy and commiseration. Every breath of these three lives and millions of other Tamilians will ever breathe for your kindly rule and felicitous culture and religious profundity. After all, as Swami Vivekananda told us ‘Religion is the manifestation of divinity already in man’. My ultimate plea to is to awaken your conscience ever humane and divine.

To hang is savage. To forgive is sagely and celestial. In tears I quote Madam Sonia Gandhi in her noble words in her appeal to the President of India K.R. Narayanan to grant pardon:

‘Your Excellency Mr. President, Supreme Court of India has confirmed the death sentence on four persons who were responsible for the assassination of my beloved husband Rajiv Gandhi.

Our Family does not think that the four held responsible for the heinous murder of my dear husband must be hanged. My son, my daughter or myself do not wish that the four murderers be hanged.

In particular, we do not at all wish Nalini, mother of an eight year old child, to be hanged. I am aware how my children miss their father and we do not want another child to lose its parents together and get orphaned.

As you are well aware, my children Rahul and Priyanka and myself are suffering untold mental agony day in day out due to the loss of our beloved Rajiv. But neither my children nor myself would like the persons responsible for my husband’s tragic and to be hanged.

Hence I humbly request you to stop their hanging and grant them pardon when they seek your clemency.’

You will be nobler than Madam Sonia Gandhi by a supreme gesture of pardon. At this wee hour epistolary invention to you is because of a compassionate cry to me as Honorary President of People’s Movement Against Death Penalty.

Once at the instance of the State Home Minister, the Governor has rejected the commutation jurisdiction, there is no bar in exercising that power over again. But the President’s clemency power once exercised by rejection, it is administratively odd and improper for the Governor to grant clemency in a case where the President has already rejected clemency. In such a case, administrative harmony and propriety will be best sustained by the Home Minister or Chief Secretary writing to the Home Secretary of the centre to persuade the President to reconsider his earlier rejection of the reprieve petition in view of the state wide protest against hanging of the three lives on a large scale. The President can do it because this power of clemency can be exercised more than once and is not exhausted by one exercise if the Home Secretary will move the President again to reconsider his rejection and favourably grant commutation. The matter ends happily.

With regards,
Yours sincerely,
V.R. KRISHNA IYER


To
Her Excellency Ms. J. Jayalalithaa
Hon’ble Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
Poes Guardian
Chennai, Tamil Nadu

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