In a clear indication that the Centre will have a say in the release of convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, the Supreme Court Monday dismissed a petition by S Nalini, challenging the law mandating the Centre’s approval before a convict’s premature release on remission. Nalini is serving life imprisonment in the assassination case.
“Sorry, we are not interested,” said a bench led by Chief Justice of India H L Dattu, as it refused to examine the validity of 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 had challenged the validity of the CrPC provision saying it was unconstitutional since it refused equal treatment to a convict only on the basis of which agency investigated the case.
Nalini has been in jail for the last 23 years and is undergoing life imprisonment after her death sentence was commuted. She was sentenced to death by the trial court in 1998 but it was commuted to life term by the Tamil Nadu Governor two years later.
The Centre had earlier contended that the Tamil Nadu government could not release the convicts without its approval when it had derailed the state government’s decision to release them.