The centre on Thursday reaffirmed in the Madras High Court its stand that the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convicts cannot be set free without its consent and said the Tamil Nadu cabinet recommendation for their premature release would have "zero" effect.
The oral submission was made by Additional Solicitor General (ASG) G Rajagopalan before a bench of justices R Subbiah and R Pongiappan during the hearing of a petition by Nalini, one of the seven life convicts, seeking to declare her detention as illegal.
Nalini has moved the court contending that since the Tamil Nadu Governor had failed to order her release based on the September 9, 2018 recommendation of the state cabinet.
The bench, which heard arguments from all parties, reserved its orders on her petition.
Opposing the plea of Nalini, the ASG cited a Supreme Court order and said unless there was an order in the name of the Governor, it was not an illegal detention.
He said the resolution passed by the state Council of Ministers was not an order (for release).
Referring to an earlier litigation by Nalini in the Supreme Court, he said the then question raised was whether the state government has the power to release the convicts without the consent or consultation of the Central government under CrpC provisions.
The Supreme Court had held that the centre's consent or concurrence was necessary because the case was investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Mr Rajagopalan said.
Already the central government had refused to release these convicts. Besides, as per the Supreme Court orders, life sentence means imprisonment till death, he said.