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Supreme Court directs Tamil Nadu to consider premature release of Sri Lankan languishing in jail for 35 years

The Supreme Court has directed the government of Tamil Nadu to consider the premature release of a convicted Sri Lankan national, who has already spent more than 35 years in prison.

The order was passed recently by the Bench of Justice Abhay S. Oka and Justice Rajesh Bindal on a petition against denial of the petitioner’s premature release based on a 2018 policy.

The Apex Court directed the State of Tamil Nadu to act on the petitioner’s appeal within three weeks.

As per the petitioner, he was convicted to life imprisonment and had already spent more than 35 years in jail. He sought premature release in terms of Policy dated February 1, 2018.

However, his prayer was rejected on February 12, 2021 on two grounds. First, the seriousness of the crime committed and second, trials of the co-accused were separated. So, premature release of the petitioner would be a hindrance to a fair trial.

The Apex Court took note of an earlier affidavit filed by the State Government and observed that the petitioner’s conduct in jail was satisfactory. The Court referred to the 2021 order and recorded that it was essential to ascertain whether the petitioner has been involved in any other crime.

The petitioner sought impleading of the Government of India through the Ministry of Home Affairs, which was permitted, in order to ensure that after the petitioner’s premature release, he would return to his home country.

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