Rajiv Gandhi assassination case: Madras HC dismisses convict Nalini’s plea seeking early release
The High Court has dismissed convict a petition filed by Nalini, convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, seeking a direction to the Tamil Nadu governor for her premature release.
A division bench comprising held that Article 361 of the Constitution insulated the governor of a state from being questioned or answerable before any court with respect to discharge his official duties.
Quoting Supreme Court verdicts, the bench said the law gives complete immunity and privilege to the governor in the discharge of his Constitutional obligations.
Therefore, questioning the discharge of the act of a governor or failure to discharge his Constitutional obligations cannot be subjected to judicial review under Article 226 of the Constitution by arraying the governor as a party to the writ proceedings, the bench said.
In this case, even arguing that the governor did not take into account the advice given by the council of ministers will not be a ground for the petitioner to approach the court contending that the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution has been infringed, it said. “The privilege and immunity conferred on the governor under Art 361 is a clear bar on the petitioner to file the present petition. The Governor cannot be equated with the instrumentalities under Article 12 of the Constitution who are amenable to the jurisdiction of this court through writ petition,” the bench said in its order.
Nalini had moved the petition stating that the governor had been delaying recommendations given by the state government for the release of the convict.
The state government had given the recommendation to governor in September last year. This recent decision by the HC upholds the immunity enjoyed by a governor against judicial directions.
Nalini had stated that governor’s failure to act on the recommendation of the state cabinet for the convicts’ premature release amounted to contempt of Supreme Court.
Nalini said a Constitution bench of the Supreme Court had in the Maru Ram case (reported in 1980) held that the advice of the state government under Article 161 of the Constitution would be binding on the head of the state.
Thus she brought a comparison of the recommendation given by the TN council of Minister on September 9, 2018 for the release of the convicts.
(With PTI inputs)