Nalini Sriharan, a life convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, has moved the Madras High Court, alleging illegal detention at Vellore prison from September 10, 2018 as the Governor of Tamil Nadu had not acted on the advice of the council of ministers to release her.
The petitioner referred to the Supreme Court judgment in the Maru Rams case (in 1980), in which a constitution bench held that the advice of the state government under Article 161 of the Constitution would be binding on the head of the state.
She contended that as the power under Article 161 (power of the Governor to grant pardons and suspend, remit or commute sentences in certain cases), has already been exercised by Tamil Nadu, the Governor has no discretion, but to act on the September 9, 2018 advice of the council of ministers.
Stating that the Governor had to 'mandatorily' accept the state's recommendation, the ruling party had said last year that the Governor will definitely have to accept the cabinet's decision. "Governor represents the state. He's the executive for the state. Whatever decision was taken by the government will be executed by the Governor," Tamil Nadu Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar had said.
Earlier this year, Nalini had moved the Court, seeking directions to Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit to release all the seven convicts as per the decision of the Tamil Nadu cabinet in 2018, recommending their release under Article 161 of the Constitution.
However, the High Court had dismissed her petition.
Nalini, in her petition on Friday, submitted that since she has not been released as per the advice of the council of ministers, her continued detention was illegal and violative of Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution.
Nalini and her husband Murugan, besides five other convicts, are undergoing life imprisonment in the case related to the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi at an election rally in Sriperumbudur near Chennai on May 21, 1991.