The Madras High Court on Friday dismissed a petition filed by Nalini Sriharan, a convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, seeking an early release, PTI reported. Sriharan is serving a life sentence, and has completed over 25 years in prison.
In February, Sriharan had approached the High Court, challenging the validity of Section 435(1)(a) of the Criminal Procedure Code that requires states to consult the Centre before commuting or reducing a prison sentence in a case that was investigated by central agencies. The code prescribes the entire procedure for the investigation and trial of offences.
Her petition came after the Tamil Nadu government issued an order allowing the premature release of life convicts under Article 161 of the Constitution, which deals with the governor’s powers to pardon convicts. She was not eligible for an early release under this order, as the Central Bureau of Investigation, a central agency, had probed the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.
Her petition said that convicts could not be treated differently, according to the Hindustan Times.
A division bench of the court said on Friday that Sriharan would have to wait for the outcome of a related matter pending before the Supreme Court. In January, the Supreme Court had asked the Centre to respond to the Tamil Nadu government, which had sought its view on releasing seven convicts in the case, including Sriharan.