The Madras High Court has ordered notices to Tamil Nadu government on a plea by slain forest brigand Veerappan’s brother Mathaiyan, serving life term in a murder case, to release him prematurely as he had already spent 26 years in jail.
In a habeas corpus petition, Mathaiyan said he had sent a representation to the authorities on February 7, 2014 seeking his release but the authorities were yet to respond.
A division bench of Justice V Dhanapalan and Justice G Chockalingam ordered notices to the authorities returnable in four weeks.
The petitioner said he was arrested by Erode district police on July 28, 1987 in connection with a murder case. He was convicted in November 1997 and awarded life imprisonment by a court.
The petitioner’s counsel P Pugalenthi said that as on July 28, 2007 when hundreds of lifers who had completed more than 10 years of jail term were given premature release by the state government Mathaiyan had completed 20 years but was denied the benefit.
Citing a November 10, 1994 government order which mandated the release of life convicts who had served at least 20 years of actual imprisonment, Pugalenthi said even this humanitarian ground was not applied to Mathaiyan.
Describing as arbitrary and discriminatory the failure of the authorities to consider his plea, Mathaiyan wanted the court to order his release by invoking its inherent powers.