The Madras High Court on Friday dismissed the petition of the Rajiv Gandhi assassination convict S. Nalini seeking premature release. Nalini is currently serving life imprisonment in Vellore women prison for her involvement in the case.
The court passed the order while noting that a similar case was already pending before the Supreme Court and, therefore, it cannot interfere in the matter. Nalini had sought an early release on humanitarian grounds by exercising powers conferred on the Governor under Article 161 of the Constitution.
Nalini was convicted by a Special Court at Poonamallee, Tamil Nadu, in 1998. Her conviction and death sentence was confirmed by the Supreme Court a year later. However, following a mercy petition by the convict, the Tamil Nadu government commuted her sentence to life in 2000, under Article 161 of the Constitution.
The convict had later challenged the constitutionality of a CrPC Section which requires the states to hold consultations with the Centre on the premature release of prisoners whose cases are handled by Central agencies.
Her petition challenged the constitutionality of CrPc Section 435 (1) (a) that mandates the state government to consult the central government to remit or commute a sentence in any case where the sentence is for an offence, which was investigated by the Delhi Special Police Establishment, constituted under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, or by any other agency empowered to make investigation into an offence under any central Act.