TN to Consult Centre Before Deciding Nalini's Release

TN to Consult Centre Before Deciding Nalini's Release
Tamil Nadu Government today told the Madras High Court that it would consult the Centre before taking any decision on premature release of Nalini, a life convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

The state's position was stated before a Division Bench by Tamil Nadu Advocate General P S Raman, who also informed it that the government was yet to receive the report of the Advisory Board formed to consider Nalini's plea for premature release.

The matter came up when the Bench, comprising Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and M Paul Vasanthakumar, was hearing an appeal filed by Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy challenging a single judge's order directing reconstitution of the Board to consider Nalini's plea.

The case was adjourned to February 19.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi had said recently that the state could not take any unilateral decision on the plea by Nalini, saying it was a major issue that had to be discussed at the "national level (the Centre)."

The Advisory Board to consider Nalini's plea was formed recently after a direction from the High Court on September 24, 2008, while partly allowing a petition by her.

Besides Nalini, imprisoned for the last 19 years, the Board has heard the pleas of two other convicts in the case, Jayakumar and Robert Payas, seeking their premature release.

The authorities concerned had, in October 2007, rejected the plea of Nalini, arrested on June 14, 1991 and sentenced to death by a special court along with 25 others in January 1998.

In May 1999, the Supreme Court had confirmed the death sentence of Nalini and three others. Her death penalty was commuted to life by the state government on April 24, 2000 after the then Governor allowed her clemency petition.

Nalini had also moved the High Court recently, seeking permission to argue in person in the appeal filed by Swamy against setting up of the board to consider her premature release.

Her request, which came in a telegram addressed to the Registrar General of the High Court, has been referred to the Division Bench hearing Swamy's appeal.
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