A bench headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha sought response from the Centre which had earlier contended that Tamil Nadu can't release the convicts without its approval and had derailed the state government's decision to release them.

In her petition, Nalini challenged Section 435(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code which mandates the state government to consult the Centre before premature release of a convict if the case was investigated by the CBI.

Nalini has been in jail for the last 23 years and undergoing life imprisonment after her death sentence was commuted. She was sentenced to death penalty by the trial court in the case on January 28, 1998.

Nalini's death sentence was commuted to life term by the Tamil Nadu Governor on April 24, 2000.

"Though 2200 life convicts who had put in less than 10 years of imprisonment were prematurely released by the Tamil Nadu Government during the last about 15 years, she was excluded from consideration for premature release only on the ground that her offence was investigated by the CBI i.e. Hercase was covered by Section 435(1)(a) CrPC. The said section is unconstitutional," the petition said.

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