HC orders release of life convict

Making it clear that fundamental rights cannot be taken away by any enactment and one's liberty cannot be curtailed based on "viewer views," Madras High Court ordered the immediate release of one Rajendran, serving a life term.

Chennai: Making it clear that fundamental rights cannot be taken away by any enactment and one's liberty cannot be curtailed based on "viewer views," Madras High Court ordered the immediate release of one Rajendran, serving a life term.

Rajendran (57) had been sentenced to life by a sessions court in Chengalpet in 1990, along with three others in a murder case of 1988.

The DMK regime had in September 2008 introduced a premature release scheme under which lifers who had completed seven years of sentence were eligible to be considered for release. While the three co-convicts were released, Rajendran was not as his family was unwilling to take him back.

Since a precondition for release is acceptance by the family, his case remained in limbo till a lawyer P Pugalenthi filed a Habeas Corpus Petition, seeking his immediate release.

The state government opposed it, saying though the convict was eligible for premature release, his family was still objecting to it

A division bench, comprising Justices S Tamilvanan and C T Selvam rejected the government stand, saying he is entitled to get premature release, as that of other similarly placed persons.

"Based on the views of family members and others, it cannot be decided. It is made clear that fundamental rights cannot be taken away by any enactment and the person's liberty cannot be curtailed based on the viewer views."

The bench pointed out that the government had not raised any objection other than the family angle. Therefore Rajendran must be released immediately in terms of the September 11, 2008 G.O., it said. 

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