Tamil Nadu gets court notice on premature release of prisoners

December 15th, 2008 - 9:03 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 15 (IANS) Can state governments prematurely release a large number of convicted prisoners to mark important occasions? The Supreme Court Monday decided to closely examine the legality of the matter on a plea against the Tamil Nadu government freeing over 1,000 prisoners to mark the 100th birth anniversary of former chief minister C.N. Annadurai.A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice P. Sathasivam issued notice to the Tamil Nadu government on a plea by Janata Party president Subramaniam Swamy who sought transfer of his lawsuit from the Madras High Court to the apex court.

The lawsuit by Swamy, filed on Sep 14, objected to the state government’s decision to let off 1,405 prisoners prematurely the next day to mark the 100th birth anniversary of C.N. Annadurai, the state’s first non-Congress chief minister and also the founder of the ruling DMK.

The DMK government took the decision on Sep 11, three days before Swamy moved the state high court.

The high court, however, after a special hearing of the issue the same night, allowed the DMK government, headed by M. Karunanidhi, to let off the prisoners.

Swamy’s petition is still pending in the high court.

Swamy pointed out that the apex court was also hearing a similar petition objecting to an order last year by the Andhra Pradesh government to release 1,300 prisoners to mark the 150th anniversary of India’s First War of Independence in 1857.

Swamy said as the two petitions raised similar questions of law, they should be heard together by the apex court.

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