The Madras High Court on Tuesday allowed Rajiv Gandhi assassination convict S Nalini to argue her parole case in person and ordered the Vellore Central Prison authorities to produce her on July 5.
Hearing her plea for six-months parole to make arrangements for her daughter's wedding, the High Court ordered the jail authorities to produce her on July 5. In her plea, Nalini had said every life convict was entitled to one month of ordinary leave after completing two years in prison and she had not taken the leave even once during the past 27 years she had spent in jail.
She also said she would like to argue her case in person. Nalini is one of the seven life convicts in the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. The Times of India reported that a division bench of Justices M M Sundaresh and M Nirmal Kumar had said on Tuesday, ‚ÄúThis court is not in a position to deny her request. After all, a lawyer is only a representative of a party. When the party wishes to appear in person and put forth her case, the court of law is not required to reject the request until and unless strong reasons exist.‚ÄĚ
The other six are V Sriharan alias Murugan, husband of Nalini, AG Perarivalan, T Suthendraraja alais Santhan, Jayakumar, Robert Payas and Ravichandran. They include both Indians and Sri Lankans.
In February this year, Nalini went on a hunger strike in the Special Prison for Women in Vellore seeking the release of all seven convicts in the case. Her protest came five months after the Tamil Nadu cabinet recommended the release of the seven life convicts in the Raj Gandhi assassination case to Governor Banwarilal Purohit.
Speaking to TNM, Radhakrishnan, her lawyer had said that the delay in acting on the Tamil Nadu cabinet recommendation wass worrying. ‚ÄúThough the hunger strike is against prison rules, in Nalini‚Äôs case it is completely justified. She is expressing her protest against the inordinate delay caused by the Tamil Nadu Governor in signing the release papers despite the TN cabinet approving it,‚ÄĚ he said.
All seven have been in prison since 1991, the year a woman Tamil Tiger suicide bomber blew up Rajiv Gandhi at an election rally near Chennai. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was blamed for the assassination. The Sri Lankan military crushed the Tamil Tigers in 2009.
The Tamil Nadu government had in September last year recommended that all seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case be released under Article 161 of the Constitution.
In August 2018, one of the convicts Perarivalan had told the Supreme Court that no action had been taken on his mercy petition filed before the Governor of Tamil Nadu. Meanwhile, the BJP-led central government did not agree to their release and informed the court that it would set a ‚Äėdangerous precendent‚Äô and have ‚Äėinternational ramifications‚Äô.
(With inputs from IANS)