Nalini release, Rajiv Gandhi assasination
Nalini Sriharan has been residing in Chennai since her release from prison I File Photo

Rajiv Gandhi assassination: Nalini moves HC seeking release without Governor nod

Nalini Sriharan, one of seven persons convicted in former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination case of 1991, has moved the Madras High Court again, seeking directions for her release without the Tamil Nadu Governor’s consent.

Her fresh plea requests the court to declare as “unconstitutional” the failure on the part of the Governor to act on the state government’s recommendation for the release of all seven prisoners.

In September 2018, the K Palaniswami-led AIADMK government had recommended to then Governor Banwarilal Purohit the release of Murugan, Santhan, AG Perarivalan, Ravichandran, Jayakumar, Robert Payas and Nalini.

Nalini had earlier also moved the court on the matter. The petition, filed through her advocate P Pugalenthi, noted that the Supreme Court, in Maru Ram Vs Union of India case, had held that the advice of the state government under Article 161 of Constitution binds the Head of State. It would amount to contempt of the apex court, Nalini argued, requesting the court to order her release without the Governor’s nod.

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On Friday, the first bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice PD Audikesavalu, before which the petition came up for hearing, ordered a notice to the Tamil Nadu government instructing it to file a counter-affidavit to Nalini’s plea when the matter comes up after the holidays. The court has posted the matter for November 12.

Nalini and her husband Murugan were arrested after Gandhi’s assassination during an election rally at Sriperumbudur on May 21, 1991. The couple and other convicts have served close to 30 years in jail and political parties have been making appeals for their release for several years now.

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