Madras High Court dismisses Nalini’s plea for release

Chennai: The Madras High Court today dismissed a petition filed by Nalini, one of the seven life convicts in the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi assassination case seeking a direction to the Tamilnadu government to release her without waiting for the approval of State Governor.

In her habeas corpus petition filed before a Bench led by Justices R Subbiah and R Pongiappan, she sought her release on the ground that her detention since 9 September, 2018, should be considered illegal as the State Cabinet resolution recommending their release under Article 161 of the Constitution was binding on the Governor and that he could not take a contra view.

She also sought her release from prison after declaring as unconstitutional the Governor’s ‘failure’ to act upon the Cabinet recommendation.

The petitioner submitted the State cabinet passed a resolution on 9 September, 2018 requesting the Governor to release  all the seven convicts, including her.

She contended that as per the Supreme Court order in Maru Ram case, the cabinet advice will be binding on the Governor and hence the ‘failure’ to act on the recommendation would amount to contempt.

The Centre had stated that the convicts cannot be set free without its consent. Asserting that Nalini was not under illegal detention, the State government said it was for the Governor to take a decision and that it could not interfere in it.