HC wants fresh board to hear Nalini's plea
The Madras High Court on Wednesday ordered the constitution of a fresh advisory board to hear the demand of convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case who are seeking early release.india Updated:
The Madras High Court on Wednesday ordered the constitution of a fresh advisory board to hear the demand of convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case who are seeking early release.
The court also urged Nalini Murugan and others to approach the Tamil Nadu government afresh with their demand, saying only the state had the power to effect premature release of life convicts.
Justice S. Nagamuthu, however, struck down the government order rejecting the demand for premature release, saying it was based on improper recommendations of the advisory panel.
S. Doraiswamy, the senior counsel who represented the convicts, claimed victory.
"The judge upheld our contention that the government had mindlessly rejected a just demand and ... ordered the reconstitution of the advisory panel whose recommendations were unjust and illegal. It is a big victory for those who believe in justice," Doraiswamy told reporters.
Prosecution sources told IANS that the court had not struck down the state's powers to decide upon the release of the convicted prisoners and had thus upheld its main contention.
Nalini Murugan alias Sriharan, who had accompanied the suicide bomber to the election rally where Gandhi was killed in May 1991, had sought her release saying she had spent more than the mandatory maximum 14 years in jail.
Three other convicts sentenced to death in the same case had appealed for release on the ground that they had waited for years for the hangman - a condition worse than the capital punishment. Further, they said they also had completed the life imprisonment period.
Nalini, her husband and former Tamil Tiger guerrillas Murugan and two others were sentenced to death for their role in the killing of Gandhi.
The Madras High Court had upheld Nalini's plea for clemency on a technicality and on the basis of an earlier ruling of the Supreme Court, which said that both the parents of a child should not be put to death. Her death penalty was commuted to life sentence.
Nalini had delivered a girl Megara (presently studying in Britain) in prison in 1992.