Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convict Nalini challenges validity of CrPC section 435 on premature release

Chennai: Nalini, serving a life term in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, on Tuesday moved the Madras High Court challenging a CrPC section's constitutionality noting that there cannot be two different treatments for single class of life convicts, when it comes to premature release.

 Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convict Nalini challenges validity of CrPC section 435 on premature release

File image of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. Reuters

Section 435 (1) (a) of the CrPC mandates the state government to consult the Centre to remit or commute a sentence, in any case, investigated by central agencies.

According to Nalini, the Tamil Nadu government passed an order dated 1 February introducing a scheme of premature release of life convicts under Article 161 (Power of governor to grant pardons, and to suspend, remit or commute sentences in certain cases) of the Constitution.

But she would not be eligible for the scheme, since there is a specific clause in the order, to the effect that the cases of eligible life convicts should not come under CrPC section 435.

Since the offence for which Nalini was convicted was investigated by the CBI, she becomes ineligible for premature release under the scheme.

"When the object of premature release is reformation and rehabilitation of prisoners, and when the convicts are released only on the basis of good conduct in prison, which can be assessed only by the respective state government, the law mandating the state to consult the Centre would be irrational," Nalini said.

Once convicts are confined in prison, all of them are required to be treated equally and there cannot be two different treatment for single class of convicts, she submitted.

She also submitted that the state has not applied its mind that the provision 435 would apply only when the government exercises its powers under CrPC sections 432 and 433.

Nalini has been lodged in a special prison for women at Vellore for more than 26 years since her arrest in connection with the assassination of the former prime minister at Sriperumpudur by an LTTE suicide bomber on 21 May, 1991.

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Updated Date: Feb 13, 2018 22:24:42 IST