Another petitioner from Batlagundu, Dindigul district, moved the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Thursday, challenging the premature release of 13 life convicts in the Melavalavu murder case.
S. Balachandra Bose alias Ulaganambi, the petitioner, has claimed that the impugned order, which was served by the Additional Chief Secretary, Home (Prison-IV) Department, for their premature release, in derogation of the constitutional provisions opposing the Article 161 of the Constitution of India, was arbitrary in nature. Hence, it was liable for judicial review.
The competent authority to exercise the power misconducted screening of the genesis of the case, resulting in injustice to the families of the victims and the society as a whole as tension gripped the Melavalavu panchayat.
Moreover, the respondents also failed to give even minimum facts, material details of the discussion, consideration, findings or conclusions to make out a prima facie case justifying the government to take a decision before such premature release of those convicts.
The respondents failed to properly exercise the executive powers up to the standard as directed by the Supreme Court, which categorically held that the President and the Governor were the sole judges of the sufficiency of the facts and of the appropriateness of granting pardons and reprieves.
But the impugned order was passed with no facts and appropriateness of granting pardons and it could not be laid for the purpose of satisfaction to invoke the power of premature release of the accused. Hence, it’s in derogation of the constitutional provision.
Further, the respondent authorities failed to take note of the specific finding that 40 persons were involved in the criminal case as accused. Though 17 were convicted, unfortunately the state government did not prefer any appeal against acquittal of the remaining accused despite enough material to hold the charge against all the accused under Section 3 (1) (v) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
However, the division bench found criminal conspiracy against the accused and confirmed the conviction in appeal by final judgment dated April 19, 2006.
On hearing, the division bench of Justice T.S. Sivagnanam and Justice R. Tharani ordered to list the petition for hearing along with a petition of similar prayer.