NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the Centre on a plea by S Nalini, undergoing life imprisonment in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, challenging the law mandating Centre’s approval for her release and that of six other convicts.
A bench, headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha, sought response from the Centre, which had earlier contended that Tamil Nadu can’t release the convicts without its approval and had derailed the state government’s decision to release them.
In her petition, Nalini challenged Section 435(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code, which mandates the state government to consult the Centre before premature release of a convict if the case was investigated by CBI.
“Though 2,200 life convicts, who had put in less than 10 years of imprisonment, were prematurely released by the Tamil Nadu government during the last 15 years, she was excluded from consideration for premature release only on the ground that her offence was investigated by the CBI i.e., her case was covered by Section 435(1)(a) CrPC. The said section is unconstitutional,” the petition said.
A day after the apex court had commuted the death sentences of convicts, Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan, the Jayalalithaa government on February 19 had proposed to remit the sentences of all seven lifers, including the three, and release them. The decision was challenged by the Centre before the Supreme Court, which had stayed the decision.