S Nalini, who has been undergoing life imprisonment in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, has approached the Supreme Court seeking to declare as "null and void" a provision in law mandating Tamil Nadu government to consult the Centre before releasing seven life term convicts in the case.
In her petition, Nalini challenged Section 435(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code which mandates the state government to consult the Centre before pre-mature release of a convict if the case was investigated by the CBI.
Nalini has been in jail for the last 23 year and undergoing life imprisonment after her death sentence was commuted. She was sentenced to death penalty by the trial court in the case on January 28, 1998.
Nalini's death sentence was commuted to life term by the Tamil Nadu Governor on April 24, 2000.
"Though 2200 life convicts who had put in less than 10 years of imprisonment were prematurely released by the Tamil Nadu Government during the last about 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. The said section is unconstitutional," the petition said.
A day after the apex court had commuted the death sentences of convicts Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan, the Jayalalithaa government on February 19 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.