Chennai, Mar 11 (GCCurrentAffairs) The Madras High Court today dismissed a petition filed by S.Nalini, one of the seven life convicts in the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi assassination case seeking a direction to the Tamil Nadu government to release her without waiting for the approval of state Governor.
In her habeas corpus petition filed before a Bench led by Justices R Subbiah and R Pongiappan, she sought her release on the ground that her detention since September nine, 2018, should be considered illegal as the State Cabinet resolution recommending their release under Artile 161 of the Constitution was binding on the Governor and that he could not take a contra view.
She also sought her release from prison after declaring as unconstitutional the Governor’s “failure” to act upon the Cabinet recommendation.
The petitioner submitted the state cabinet passed a resolution on September 9, 2018 requesting the Governor to release of all the seven convicts, including her.
She contended that as per the Supreme Court order in Maru Ram case, the cabinet advice will be binding on the Governor and hence the ‘failure’ to act on the recommendation would amount to contempt.
The Centre had stated that the convicts cannot be set free without its consent. Asserting that Nalini was not under illegal detention, the state government said it was for the Governor to take a decision and that it could not interfere in it.
Besides Nalini, her husband Murugan, A G Perarivalan, Santhan, Jayakumar, Ravichandran and Robert Pyas are serving life term for their role in the assassination Rajiv Gandhi on May 21, 1991 by an LTTE suicide bomber at Sriperumbudur, near here.
Nalini, in her affidavit said she was found guilty in the case in 1998 and was sentenced to death by the trial court.
The conviction as well as the sentence were confirmed by the Supreme Court on May 11, 1999. Thereafter, she sought pardon and the then Governor commuted her death sentence to life imprisonment on April 24, 2000 by exercising powers under Article 161 of the Constitution.
Thereafter, claiming to have become eligible for premature release in 2001, the 52-year-old convict said, the government was not considering her case at all, even while scores of other convicts were released on occasions such as birth anniversaries of former Chief Ministers.
Claiming that the Governor had accepted the recommendations made by the Cabinet for release of convicts in other cases, she said there was no justification for keeping her release pending and prayed for a direction to the government.