The Madras High Court rejected today Rajiv Gandhi killing case convict Nalini’s plea for premature release. Earlier this week, the court has said it would pronounce the judgement today on an appeal filed by Nalini, a life convict in former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. A division bench of Justices R Subramaniam and K K Sasidharan had remained the order same on April 24 on the plea by Nalini, challenging the order of a single judge rejecting her pray for premature release under a 1994 state government scheme under Article 161 (powers of Governor to grant pardon). In a February 22, 2014 delegation to the state government, Nalini had sought premature release under the 1994 scheme and had later moved the court.
The state government had denied the plea citing pendency of a similar matter in the Supreme Court then. Following this, the single judge had asked it to consider the representation subject to the result of the apex court proceedings. The Supreme Court had ordered in March 2016 made it fair that for premature release pleas under CrPc Section 435, the concurrence of the Centre was required in cases handled by central agencies such as the CBI.
Upholding the single judge’s order, the division bench said Nalini would have to wait for the result of the matter pending before the Supreme Court, and dismissed her appeal. “The bench is in full agreement with the views expressed by the single learned judge,” the bench said. During discussions before the bench.
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 found accused 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.