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Plea in HC claims solitary confinement of Rajiv case convict

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: November 1, 2019  | 19:32 IST

Chennai, Nov 1 (PTI) A petition has been filed in the Madras High Court alleging that Murugan, a life convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, has been kept in solitary confinement in the Vellore prison since October 19 in violation of rules and seeking to lift the restrictions imposed on him. When the habeas corpus petition filed by Murugan's niece came up for hearing, a bench comprising justices M M Sundresh and R M T Teekaa Raman issued notice to the state prison authorities and the superintendent of the Central Prison in Vellore, seeking their response. Seeking production of her uncle in the court, petitioner M Thenmozhi of Thanjavur also pleaded that Murugan be allowed to meet his relatives, including his wife and co-life convict Nalini, in accordance with law. She submitted that according to her counsel, P Pugalenthi, who had met Murugan on October 26, the convict was kept in solitary confinement since October 19 and barred from meeting his relatives, including Nalini, who is lodged in the women's prison in Vellore, for a period of 90 days as a "penalty". The petitioner said that according to Rule 525 of the Tamil Nadu Prison Rules, Murugan was allowed an interview with his wife once in 15 days for about 30 minutes. But barring his lawyer, no other person was allowed to meet Murugan, she claimed and alleged that the penalty was imposed on her uncle without following the procedure established by law. Such solitary confinement for more than 10 days and not being allowed to meet his relatives was violative of Article 21 of the Constitution, which was related to protection of life and personal liberty, she contended. The petitioner further claimed that Nalini was on "a hunger strike" in her prison, located close to the jail where Murugan is lodged, demanding permission to meet her husband. She sought a direction to the authorities to produce Murugan before the court and remove him from solitary confinement immediately and also allow him to meet her and other family members, including his wife. Murugan and Nalini, besides five other convicts, are undergoing life imprisonment in the case related to former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi's assassination at a poll rally in Sriperumbudur, near here, on May 21, 1991. PTI CORR VS RC

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