S. Nalini, a life convict in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, has filed a habeas corpus petition in the Madras High Court seeking ordinary leave for six months to make arrangements for her daughter’s marriage and also sought permission to argue the case in person.
In an affidavit filed in support of her petition, the life convict stated that former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated at Sriperumbudur near here in May 1991 and a special court for Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act (TADA) cases sentenced her and other convicts to death in January 1998.
Life sentence in 2000
Though the Supreme Court confirmed the capital punishment in May 1999, the punishment was commuted to life sentence by the State government in April 2000.
Since then, around 3,700 life convicts were released from various prisons in the State on completion of 10 years of incarceration but she was not accorded the benefit.
On September 9, 2018, the State Cabinet recommended the release of all seven life convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case by according them the benefit of a 1994 Government Order, which provides for the release of prisoners after 20 years. However, the recommendation is pending with the Governor.
Stating that every life convict was entitled to one month of ordinary leave on completion of every two years of incarceration, the petitioner said she had not availed such leave even once in the last 27 years of her imprisonment. All along she had filed several cases seeking premature release in the High Court as well as in the Supreme Court.
However, this time, she evinced interest in arguing the present habeas corpus petition as a party-in-person and urged the court to direct the prison authorities to produce her in court.