Supreme Court Directs Constitution of Bench to Decide Grant of Remission to Convicts by States

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The three-judge bench of the Supreme Court directs to constitute another bench to decide on the convict’s premature release. It was to decide whether the convict’s premature release was part of the policy of the State Government.

Brief Facts of the Case

The appellant stands convicted under Section 302 read with Section 34 of the IPC. He was sentenced to suffer life imprisonment. While granting the Special Leave to Appeal, the Apex Court rejected the bail order in 2017. Another application for bail came up for consideration. The report was that the appellant has completed 8 years of the actual sentence and is aged above 75 years. Under the existing policy of the State Government of Haryana, he should be prematurely released in 2019. The Court called upon the state asking if the policy permitted premature release even before the completion of the actual sentence. The sentence was of 14 years in connection with an offence punishable under Section 302 IPC.

Arguments Before the Court

The state of Haryana indicates that on account of Independence Day, the Governor of Haryana under Article 161 of the Constitution, can grant special remission to certain categories of prisoners. They submitted that the convict satisfied all the stipulations written in the policy. It challenged Section 433-A of the Code by placing reliance on various judgments to support the claim.

Court’s Ruling

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The Court accepts that the Governor did not have the occasion to look into other facets of the crime. These include the severity of the crime, the crime’s impact on the society, or the manner of its commission. The individual facts and circumstances of the case were not placed before the Governor while deciding his release. The Court laid down that the principles of Section 433-A of the Code do not apply to the exercise of constitutional power either under Article 72 or 161 of the Constitution.

For this, the Supreme Court directed to constitute a bench of appropriate strength to look into further questions of law. It included whether the Governor can grant the benefit of remission under Article 161, without looking into the facts of the case, as provided in Section 433-A of the Code.


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