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Govt has absolute, unfettered power to grant clemency: SC

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 23, 2010 - 21:59

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday said the
government has "absolute" and "unfettered" power to grant
clemency to convicts and can grant relief even before one
completes the mandatory incarceration period.

"It is evident that the clemency power of the Executive
is absolute and remains unfettered for the reason that the
provisions contained under Article 72 (President`s power) or
161 (Governor`s power) of the Constitution cannot be
restricted by the provisions of Criminal procedure Code," a
three judge bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishanan

"Even if a life convict does not satisfy the requirement
of remission rules/short sentencing schemes, there can be no
prohibition for the President or the Governor of the State, as
the case may be, to exercise the power of clemency under the
provisions of Article 72 and 161 of the Constitution," the
court said.

The Court passed the order on a reference made by Punjab
& Haryana High Court, which had referred the matter to it
after inconsistency on the rules governing clemency.

"To say that clemency power under Articles 72/161 of the
Constitution cannot be exercised by the President or the
Governor, as the case may be, before a convict completes the
incarceration period provided in the short-sentencing policy,
even in an exceptional case, would be mutually inconsistent
with the theory that clemency power is unfettered," the bench


First Published: Tuesday, March 23, 2010 - 21:59
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