Nalini's plea for premature release gets boost

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Chennai, Sep 24 (UNI) The chances of Nalini, a life convict in the Rajiv Gandhi Assassination Case, securing premature release from prison received a boost with Madras High Court directing the Tamil Nadu Government to consider her plea afresh and constitute a new Advisory Board on whose recommendation the government had rejected her plea.

Disposing the writ petition filed by Nalini, whose death penalty was commuted to life, Justice S Nagamuthu said the government had treated the entire exercise ''as an empty formality'' and gave no serious consideration to the issues raised by her.

''The procedure adopted by the Board was flawed and the consequent order of the government was liable to be set aside,'' the Judge said and directed the government to constitute a new Advisory Board for a re-look at Nalini's plea.

If the new board favoured remission, the Cabinet should take a decision and forward it to the Governor.

Holding the government ''has unfettered powers'' to examine the issue afresh, the judge said the Advisory Board meeting was not properly called.

''The District Collector, who had no power to do so, called the meeting without informing the Committee Chairman and other members.

The committee also did not consider the report of the probationary officer which was favourable to Nalini and the medical officer and the psychologist,'' the Judge noted.

The State Advocate General submitted that certain parameters like the gravity of the offence, had to be taken into consideration.

''We cannot take a bird's eye view of the petitioner's plea. We have to go into the minuteness of the case,'' he said, adding Nalini could not demand premature release as a matter of right though she was eligible for remission.

'It's for the government to take a decision,' he said.

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