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Last day in office: CJI avoids one controversy for another, forms constitution bench on Rajiv Gandhi killers' release [JUDGMENT LINKED]

A Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) P Sathasivam, who retires tomorrow to make way for Justice RM Lodha as CJI, said that a constitution bench will look into whether the commuted death sentence of the seven conspiring assassins of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, should mean they will continue to be imprisoned for life or released by the Tamil Nadu government. [TOI] [Download judgment]

Journalist @spread_law tweeted: "Matter referred to Constitution Bench of not less than 5 judges. The Constitution bench to decide what is the extent of state's power when it comes to remission of a person who is convicted under a central law. And whether court can cut down the power of state Government to remit sentence by way of a judicial order."

@sankararaman tweeted that it was a "clear example of chickening out. No judge wants to be remembered as the one who ordered release of ex-PM's assassins".

@suhrith wrote that "a reference to a constitutional bench is fine if there is a substantial question to be decided. Not sure there is one here" and @CourtWitness1 added: "What stupidity is this from the Supreme Court? How is a writ petition by the Central Govt even maintainable?!!"

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