Can Governors Pardoning override by Legislature

Can Governors Pardoning override by Legislature

GS Paper 2, Appointment to the various Constitutional posts

Source: Indian Express


Recently the apex court has observed the power of Pardon of Governor (Article-161), 

The court has observed that to commute it or to pardon will override the restrictions which are imposed under Section 433- A of the Crpc.


The Apex court was observing the power of remission policies by the Haryana Legislative assembly. The court was considering whether a state legislature can frame a policy to release a convict who was awarded life-term prematurely before completing of its least 14 years in jail or whether the government has to mandatorily go by Section 433 A of CrPC which states that remission cannot be awarded till he/she has served at least 14 years inside the bar?

What is Haryana legislative policy_

It has been proposed that the convicts who were awarded a life sentence and are above the age of 75 years (in case of male convicts) and have completed 8 years behind the bars from their actual awarded sentence are entitled to be conferred the benefit of remission 

Observations made by the Court:

  1. Even if the convict has not completed 14 years or more of actual imprisonment, the Governor has the sole power to grant pardons, reprieves, respites, and remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of the convict.

  2. However, According to the constitutional provision, the power conferred on the Governor should be exercised on the aid and advice of the State cabinet. The advice of the appropriate Government binds  on the Governor

  3. Therefore the action of commutation and release can thus be exercised to a governmental final decision and the order may be issued even without the Governor’s approval?  However, under the Rules and Regulation composed by Business and as a matter of Indian constitutional courtesy, the issue may seek approval of the Governor, if that release is under Article 161 of the Indian Constitution.

Pardoning Powers of Governor:

It dealt under Article 161 of the constitution

The Governor can grant pardons, reprieves, respites, and remissions of punishments or suspend, remit, and commute the sentence of any person convicted in any offense against any law relating to a subject to which the executive power of the state legislature extends.


Difference Between Pardoning Powers of President and Governor:

The scope of the pardoning power of the President was presented under article 72 is has a larger scope than the pardoning power of the Governor under Article 161 which has  two differences:

Court Martial: The power of the President to grant pardon has a scope in cases where the punishment is awarded by a Court Martial but Article 161 of the constitution does not provide any of such power to the Governor.

Death sentence: The President can award pardon in all cases where the sentence given is the sentence of death of the person but the pardoning power of the Governor does not have a scope to death.

 CrPC Section 433A:

It is dealing with a restriction on powers of remission or Commutation in the following cases.

  • It states “Notwithstanding anything mentioned in section 432 of Crpc, where a sentence of imprisonment for life is awarded to convict on for an offense for which death is one of the punishments awarded by law, or where a sentence of death is awarded person has been computed under section 433 of Crpc into one of imprisonment for life, such person may not be released from prison unless he had spared at least fourteen years of imprisonment.

Download Plutus IAS Daily Current Affairs of 4th August 2021

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