NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed the plea of S Nalini, undergoing life imprisonment in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, after she had challenged the law mandating the Centre’s approval for her and six other convicts’ release in the case.
“Sorry, we are not interested,” a bench comprising Chief Justice H L Dattu said, while dismissing her plea.
In her plea, Nalini had 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 the CBI. Nalini has been in jail for 23 years and is undergoing life imprisonment after her death sentence was commuted. She was sentenced to death by the trial court in the case on January 28, 1998. Her death sentence was commuted to life term by the Tamil Nadu governor on April 24, 2000.
“Though 2,200 life convicts, who had served 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, which is unconstitutional,” her petition had stated.
The Centre had earlier contended that the Tamil Nadu government can’t release the convicts without its approval. Earlier this year, the court had commuted the death sentence of convicts Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan and the Tamil Nadu government had proposed to remit the sentences of all seven lifers, including the three, and release them.
The decision of the State government to release the convicts was challenged by the Centre before the Supreme Court which had stayed the decision and referred the matter to a Constitution Bench.