Chennai: The Madras High Court on Wednesday directed the Tamil Nadu government to produce Thursday the report of the Prison Advisory Board constituted by it to consider the plea for premature release by Nalini, serving life term in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.
A Division Bench comprising justices Elipe Dharmarao and K K Sashidaran gave the order while hearing a petition by Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy challenging a single judge's September 2008 order on constitution of the board.
When the matter came up, special government pleader Desingu informed the court that "the state government has just received the report" and sought a two-week adjournment. But the court rejected the request and directed that the report be produced Thursday.
Later, state Advocate General P S Raman rushed to the court and sought permission to provide the report in a sealed envelope for the perusal of the judges alone. He submitted that the report was still under the government's consideration.
Senior counsel G Rajagopal, appearing for Swamy, sought a direction to the state government not to proceed with the report, but the court turned down the plea.
During a hearing on March 1, the court had made it clear that it would not allow further adjournments on the matter.
The AG had then told the court that the government was yet to receive the board's report and sought further time. The Advisory Board was formed on a direction from the high court on September 24, 2008.
Besides Nalini, imprisoned for the last 19 years, the board has also heard the pleas of two other convicts in the case, Jayakumar and Robert Payas, seeking premature release.
An earlier plea by Nalini was rejected by authorities in October 2007.
Nalini was sentenced to death by a special court along with 25 others in January 1998 and the Supreme Court had confirmed the capital punishment for her and three others.
However, her death penalty was commuted to life by the state government on April 24, 2000 allowing a clemency petition.
Chief Minister M Karunanidhi had said the state government would not take any unilateral decision on Nalini's plea and would consult the Centre.
The Board, headed by District Collector C Rajendran, had on January 20 heard Nalini and two others at the Vellore prison, where they are lodged.