S Nalini, a life convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case has moved the Madras High Court, seeking premature release from the Vellore jail, where Priyanka Vadra had famously called on her last month.
Admitting her petition on Wednesday, Justice P Jothimani issued notices to the Tamil Nadu Home Secretary, the Union Home Ministry, the Advisory Board of the Vellore prison for women and the Additional Director-General of prisons and posted the case for hearing on June 10.
Nalini, whose death sentence was commuted to life by the Governor of Tamil Nadu after Sonia Gandhi had intervened on her behalf, said in her petition that she had already spent 16 years and 9 months in jail whereas she was entitled to early release after completion of 16 years according to the rules.
In her petition, Nalini (42) sought quashing of the order of the Tamil Nadu Home Secretary on the basis of the recommendation of the Advisory Board of the Vellore prison for women that had rejected her plea for premature release. Nalini's counsel S. Doraisamy argued that the constitution of the advisory board itself was illegal as it did not have the requisite members. According to the rules, the board should have a chairman and six members. The chairman should be the IG of Prisons. Besides, it should have the sessions judge of the division where the prison is located, the district collector, the chief judicial magistrate, the regional probation officer, one or more non-official members appointed by the government and the superintendent of the concerned prison.
But the board had rejected her plea on December 28, 2006 and then the Home Secretary on October 31, 2007 even though the probation officer in his report of June 1, 2007 had recommended her premature release on certain strict conditions.