Chennai: Madras high court will pronounce its verdict on April 27, on the appeal filed by S. Nalini, serving life sentence in Vellore women prison for her involvement in Rajiv Gandhi assassination, challenging an order of a single judge, which granted liberty to the state government to consider her representation, seeking premature release, subject to the outcome of the petition pending before the Supreme Court.
A division bench comprising Justices K.K. Sasidharan and R. Subramanian reserved orders on the appeal filed by Nalini, after hearing elaborate arguments from both sides.
When the case came up for hearing, advocate M. Radhakrishnan, appearing for Nalini, submitted that the state government has framed a scheme in 1994 to release life convicts who have completed 20 years of actual imprisonment. The scheme was framed under Article 161 of the Constitution. Nalini had on February 22, 2014 sent a representation to the state government seeking premature release under the 1994 scheme.
Since there was no response, she filed a petition and a single judge had directed the state government to consider her representation subject to the outcome of petition pending before the SC. Against this order, Nalini has filed this appeal. Absolutely, there was no bar for the state government to exercise its power under Article 161 of the Constitution, he added.
Advocate general Vijay Narayan submitted that the current issue was completely covered by the judgment of the SC in the case of petitioner herself. The state government decided to release Nalini. But the Central government challenged it before the Supreme Court on the ground that the state government cannot decide on its own without getting concurrence from the central government since the case was investigated by the central agency. The apex court passed an interim order against the state government and it is still pending. Therefore, the state government cannot act on her representation now, he added.
From the order of the SC it is very clear that the interim order permitting the state governments to examine the power of remission shall not be applicable to the accused in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case including Nalini.
The SC in its December 2015 order, while answering the question “whether the term ‘consultation’ stipulated in section 435 (1) of Cr.P.C. implies “concurrence” has answered that the expression consultation ought to be read as “concurrence”....