Governor’s pardon power overrides 433A: SC

Source: The Hindu

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Section 433A mandates that a prisoner’s sentence can be remitted only after 14 years of jail.

Recently, the Supreme Court has observed that the power of the Governor under Article 161 of the Constitution to commute a sentence or to pardon will override the restrictions imposed under Section 433-A of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Supreme Court on Governor’s Pardoning Powers:
  • State Government has no power under the criminal procedure code to release a person sentenced to life imprisonment prior to undergoing a minimum 14 years jail term.
  • However, the Governor using his powers under Article 161 of the Constitution can remit the sentence of life imprisonment even prior to serving 14 years in prison.
  • Moreover, the Governor’s power to pardon overrides a provision in Section 433A of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
  • But the Governor could exercise his remission powers under Article 161 only on the aid and advice of the council of ministers headed by the chief minister.
Pardoning Power of Governor:
  • Under Article 161, the Governor shall have the power to grant pardons, reprieves, respites, or remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person. But the person should be convicted of any offence against any law which is under the executive power of the State.
  • Exceptions:
    • The Governor cannot pardon the death sentence (the President has the power to do so). But the Governor can suspend, remit or commute the death sentence.
    • The Governor cannot grant pardon, reprieve, respite, suspension, remission, or commutation in respect to punishment or sentence by a court-martial. However, the President can do so.
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