The Tamil Nadu government on Tuesday submitted in the Madras High Court that allowing premature release of life convicts was the prerogative of the government and no one can claim it as a right.
The submission was made in a counter filed by the state Deputy Home Secretary before a bench of justices R Subbaiah and C Saravanan on a petition by Nalini, a life convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, seeking her premature release and that of other six co-convicts.
The counter said based on the direction of the Supreme Court to the state Governor to decide on the application of Perarivalan as deemed fit, a proposal for premature release of petitioner Nalini and other six under Article 161 of the Constitution had been sent by the state government to the Governor for consideration.
The government stated that it is settled law that unless the life sentence was commuted or remitted by appropriate authority under the relevant provisions of the Constitution or the Code of Criminal Procedure, a prisoner sentenced to life imprisonment is bound in law to serve the life term in prison.
Therefore, life imprisonment prisoners cannot claim premature release as a matter of right. Premature release was the prerogative of the government.
In support of its stand, the counter cited various rulings of the Supreme Court, including the one of a Constitution bench, and added that it was for the state government to pass appropriate orders in the case of premature release of the prisoners.
The bench adjourned the matter to August 20.
The seven were convicted in the case related to the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi by a suicide bomber at nearby Sriperumbudur on May 21, 1991.
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