State told to file counter to Swamy's writ plea

The Madras High Court on Monday directed the State government to file its counter to a writ petition by Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy, challenging a government order granting remission to 1,405 life convicts on September 15, 2008, to mark the birth centenary of DMK founder C.N. Annadurai.

The First Bench, comprising Chief Justice H.L. Gokhale and Justice V. Dhanapalan, said after the counter is filed, Dr. Swamy will file the rejoinder in two weeks. It later posted the matter for June 14.

In his petition, Dr. Swamy stated that the release was in contravention of the provisions of Sections 433 (Power to commute sentence) and 433 A (Restriction on powers of remission or commutation in certain cases) Cr.P.C., which envisaged commutation of sentence of imprisonment of life to a term not exceeding 14 years. The rule was 14 years, but the government had indiscriminately and arbitrarily applied seven-year period without reference to legal provisions.

The Tamil Nadu government, represented by its Chief Secretary, had not taken steps to obtain the reports from jail authorities about each of the 1,405 convicts. It had not placed the relevant material before the Governor, who granted remission.

The government had wantonly and deliberately issued the G.O. dated September 11, 2008 fixing the date as September 15 for the release of the convicts. Its act was illegal, arbitrary and ultra vires of Article 14 of the Constitution.

Dr. Swamy pleaded with the Bench for an early hearing of his petition.

Though the petition was filed and admitted a year-and-a half ago, the government had not filed the counter yet, he said.

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Printable version | Apr 1, 2020 11:58:32 PM |

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