Why in News?
Tamil Nadu Governor will make a decision on a plea for the release of a prisoner. The prisoner is undergoing life imprisonment for the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991.
Pardoning Powers of Governor:
- Article 161: It provides that 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 offense against any law which is under the executive power of the State.
- Governor cannot pardon the death sentence (President has the power to do so)
- 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.
Different Pardoning Powers of Governor:
- Pardon: It removes both the sentence and the conviction and completely absolves the convict from all sentences, punishments, and disqualifications.
- Commutation: It denotes the substitution of one form of punishment for a lighter form. For example, a death sentence may be commuted to rigorous imprisonment which in turn may be commuted into simple imprisonment.
- Remission: It implies reducing the period of a sentence without changing its character. For example, a sentence of rigorous imprisonment for two years may be remitted to rigorous imprisonment for one year.
- Respite: It denotes awarding a lesser sentence in place of one originally awarded due to some special facts such as the physical disability of a convict or the pregnancy of a woman offender.
- Reprieve: It implies a stay of the execution of a sentence (especially that of death) for a temporary period. Its purpose is to enable the convict to have time to seek pardon or commutation from the President.
Difference Between Pardoning Powers of President and Governor