Why not consider Nalini's plea on humanitarian grounds?: HC

Chennai, June 5 (PTI): The Madras High Court on Friday asked the Tamil Nadu government whether it can consider on humanitarian grounds the request of life convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case to make video calls to their kin.

Nalini Sriharan and her husband Murugan, the convicts, wanted to make the calls to his mother and sister in Sri Lanka and London, but the state government was firm in refusing them to make such communication.

'Leave alone law, we would like to know from the government whether they (Nalini and Murugan) can be permitted to make the calls on humanitarian ground,' a division bench of Justice N Kirubakaran and Justice R Hemalatha said and asked the state public prosecutor A Natarajan to get instructions from the government.

The issue pertains to a plea moved by S Padma, mother of Nalini, seeking direction to the prison authorities to permit her daughter and her husband Murugan to make video call to his mother and sister.

Murugans father died in Sri Lanka in April last.

Therefore, the couple wanted the authorities to permit them to make video calls for at least 10 minutes daily.

When the plea came up for hearing on Friday, the prosecutor reiterated the stand of the state that the duo cannot be permitted to make calls to a foreign country.

Natarajan further suggested the court on its own implead the Union home ministry as it would be the appropriate authority to take a decision.

Opposing the same, petitioners counsel A Radhakrishnan submitted that prisons are subject matter of the state government concerned and the Union home ministry has nothing to suggest in the issue.

Recording the submissions, the bench adjourned the hearing to June 12.

Besides Nalini and her husband, the others convicted in the case are A G Perarivalan, Santhan, Jayakumar, Ravichandran and Robert Pyas.

All are serving life imprisonment for their role in the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi on May 21, 1991 by an LTTE suicide-bomber at nearby Sriperumbudur.

They were initially sentenced to death, but later it was commuted to life imprisonment.PTI COR NVG BN WELCOME BN WELCOME