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The Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice AM Khanwilkar on Friday (September 15) started hearing a petition of remission of life sentence from slain forest brigand Veerappan’s elder brother Mathaiyan.

Mathaiyan, 69, is the elder brother of the sandalwood smuggler Veerappan and has been in jail since his arrest on July 28, 1987 in connection with a murder case. He was convicted and sentenced to life in November 1997. His petition seeking remission of his sentence was dismissed by the Madras High Court on December 16, 2015.

Mathaiyan alleged discrimination, as the Tamil Nadu government granted remission to other prisoners who had served at least 20 years of actual imprisonment in terms of a government order of November 10, 1994. On July 28, 2007, when the state government released hundreds of prisoners serving life sentences in exercise of its remission powers, his case was not considered for eligibility.

On Friday, the counsel for Mathaiyan submitted before the court that the accused has already served 23 years in prison. He is old and infirm. The life sentence is likely to be commuted in consideration of his rehab and good conduct.

The court ordered the copy be served to the state of Tamil Nadu.

India Legal Bureau

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