The Madras high court on Thursday dismissed Nalini Sriharan's plea seeking premature release of seven convicts, including herself, in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.
She had petitioned the court seeking a direction to the Tamil Nadu government to press the Governor to take a decision on its September 2018 recommendation for premature release of all the seven convicts serving life term in the case.
A division bench of justices R Subbaiah and C Saravanan dismissed the petition, noting that Nalini herself had admitted that the state government had taken a decision to release her and others and the recommendation had been sent to the governor.
"When such a decision was taken by the Council of Ministers in exercise of the powers conferred under Article 161 of the Constitution of India, we do not find any reason to issue any further direction to the state," it said.
The recommendation to prematurely release the petitioner and others was pending consideration of the governor, the court said, adding it was not as if the respondents (government) had failed to exercise the powers conferred under Article 161.
"It is trite that a writ of Mandamus can be issued only if the authorities failed to discharge their duties. In the present case, as the Council of Ministers had already recommended for the premature release...
"We are not inclined to issue any direction to the respondents in this case. Dismissed," the bench said in its order.
Nalini had filed the petition on the basis of a resolution passed by the Tamil Nadu government on September 9, 2018, recommending to Governor Banwarilal Purohit premature release of all the seven convicts.
The Cabinet had recommended to the governor the release of Nalini, her husband Sriharan alias Murugan, Perarivalan, Robert Payas, Jayakumar, Ravichandran and Santhan.
Former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by an LTTE suicide bomber on May 21, 1991, during an election rally at nearby Sriperumbudur.