The Madras High Court on Friday dismissed a petition for early release filed by S. Nalini, who has been sentenced to life imprisonment in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
The court dismissed the petition citing a pending case in the Supreme Court. Nalini had sought premature release as she had completed more than 25 years in jail.
In her petition, she said that under Article 161 of the Constitution the Governor had the power to pardon and release a prisoner. She petitioned the court to order the state government to release her.
Nalini's petition was opposed by the Tamil Nadu government citing the case pending in the Supreme Court.
Nalini was sentenced to death by a special court for her involvement in Gandhi's assassination at Sriperumbudur near Chennai on May 21, 1991.
The sentence was commuted to life imprisonment after Sonia Gandhi, the former Prime Minister's widow, sought clemency -- for the sake of Nalini's daughter.
Nalini, an Indian, had accompanied the Sri Lankan woman suicide bomber who blew up Rajiv Gandhi with concealed explosives.
Nalini, who was a close friend of an LTTE operative known as Sriharan alias Murugan, another accused in the case, later gave birth to a girl in prison.
In 2000, her death penalty was, however, commuted to life imprisonment by the Tamil Nadu governor. In February 2014, the apex court commuted the death sentence of Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan on the grounds that there was inordinate delay by the President in deciding their mercy petitions.
In her plea before NCW, she stated that more than 2,200 life convicts had been released between 2001 and 2008 in Tamil Nadu after completion of only seven to 10 years. Calling the NCW her only hope, Nalini urged the commission to impress upon the Centre to release her from prison.