The Bombay High Court has issued notice to the State Information Commission (SIC) to respond to the plea filed by the AG Perarivalan, a convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, seeking details on the early release of Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt who was a convict in the 1993 Bombay serial bomb blast case.
Bench of Justices KK Tated and RI Chagla also permitted Perarivalan to bring on record details of the affidavit of the Ministry of Home Affairs informing the Supreme Court of the stance taken by Banwarilal Purohit, Governor of Tamil Nadu on the pardon and release of Perarivalan.
Perarivalan was convicted to life imprisonment at the age of 19 for aiding in making the bomb that was responsible for the assassination of the former Prime Minister of India late Rajiv Gandhi.
He is presently lodged at the Puzhal Central Prison in Chennai.
His petition states that they had sought for Dutts’s information from the Yerawada prison authorities in March 2016 through a Right to Information (RTI) application requesting to know if the Central and State government’s opinion was taken before deciding to grant Dutt early remission.
After he received no reply from the prison as well as the Appellate authority, he filed an appeal before the SIC which responded in a vague manner compelling him to approach the High Court.
His plea in the High Court through Advocate Nilesh Ukey was filed seeking directions to the SIC and Yerawada prison authorities to provide him the relevant information.
“It is pertinent to note that though the subject matter relates only to the disclosure of specific information, however, if the information sought for is provided to the petitioner (Perarivalan) then that will go in a long way in facilitating the Petitioner’s own remission process coupled with the fact that the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India is examining the prospects of the release of the Petitioner herein.” he has submitted in his plea.
He clarified that his plea is not intended to send Dutt behind bars if his remission is found contrary to the law but to bring to the Court’s attention why certain documents are not being provided.
“The petitioner is not concerned about the extraordinariness of the consideration, if any, in the case of Mr. Sanjay Sunil Dutt by the jail department at each stages of release/ remission/ parole/ furlough. And the petitioner herein is neither interested in sending Mr. Sanjay Dutt behind bars for the remission/ release granted to him, if were found granted contrary to law by the authorities. However, it is essential to demonstrate to this Hon’ble Court as to why the PIO, FAA are funning away from providing the above mentioned 33 documents. The forthrightness with which they have filed the Affidavits before this Court and before the Hon’ble State Information Commission is not show when they are asked to disclose/ provide the relevant 33 documents, that too in the era of transparency.”
Dutt, a convict under the Arms Acts, was sentenced to 6 years of imprisonment which was reduced to 5 years. He could be released on furlough and parole on various occasions and, thereafter, he was granted remission.
Dutt was convicted by a special court under the Arms Act to six years, which was later upheld by the Supreme Court. However, the sentence was reduced to five years. He surrendered before the Yerawada prison to serve his sentence in 2013.
During the period of his incarceration, Dutt was granted furlough and parole on various occasions and on February 25, 2016, he was released from jail after being granted a good conduct remission of 256 days.