CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Wednesday directed the Tamil Nadu government to ascertain and inform it as to whether the TN Governor had forwarded the 2018 state cabinet recommendations on release of all the seven convicts in former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi assassination to the President or selectively in respect of A G Perarivalan alone.
The first bench of Chief Justice M N Bhandari and Justice D Bharatha Chakravarthy gave a direction to this effect orally when Nalini Sriharan's petition seeking the court to order her release even without the consent of the Governor came up for further hearing, today.
Nalini is one of the seven convicts in the case, the others being Murugan, Santhan, A G Perarivalan, Robert Payas, Ravichandran and Jayakumar. The bench also wondered again as to how the High Court can entertain Nalini's plea.
This is so, especially when her earlier pleas seeking a direction to the Governor to countersign the Cabinet's recommendation, were rejected repeatedly, the bench added.
The previous AIADMK cabinet had in September, 2018, passed a resolution and forwarded its recommendation to the then Governor Banwarilal Purohit to order the premature release of all the seven life convicts under 161 of the Constitution.
As there was nothing forthcoming from the Governor's end, Nalini and others had filed several petitions in the High Court for a direction to the Governor to consider their plea.
But no such order was passed and all the petitions had failed. Finally, Nalini filed the present writ petition praying the court to order her release even without the consent of the Governor.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court had granted bail to Perarivalan. Hence, Nalini prayed the High Court to apply the same yardstick adopted and grant her similar relief.
However, the bench had said that the Apex Court is the supreme judicial body and that the High Court cannot decide on this issue on its own. When the matter came up today, the bench sought the clarification and adjourned the matter by a week.