Why is it in the news?
- The Supreme Court has nullified the remission granted by the Gujarat government to 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano case.
- The court held that Gujarat was not the appropriate authority to decide on the remission petition since the trial took place in Consequently, the remission orders were declared invalid.
· Remission refers to the reduction in the period of a sentence without altering the nature of the sentence.
· It allows the state to release convicts early under its remission policy.
· Article 72 empowers the President of India to grant pardons, suspend, remit, reprieves, respites, or commute the sentence of a person convicted for specific offenses. This power applies to offenses tried by a court martial, offenses against laws under the executive power of the Union, and sentences of death.
· Article 161 confers similar powers on the Governor, limited to matters under the executive power of the state.
· Section 432 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) 1973 grants the government the power to suspend or remit sentences.
· Section 433A mandates remission only after 14 years of imprisonment.
Supreme Court Verdicts on Remission
· In the case of Laxman Naskar versus Union of India (2000), the Supreme Court laid down five grounds for considering remission.
1) The impact of the offense on society.
2) The probability of the crime being repeated.
3) The potential of the convict to commit crimes in the future.
4) Whether any purpose is being served by keeping the convict in prison.
5) The socio-economic condition of the convict’s family.
· State of Haryana vs. Rajkumar (2021):
· The Supreme Court clarified that Section 433-A of CrPC does not affect the constitutional powers conferred on the President/Governor under Articles 72/161.
· This reinforces the distinct constitutional authority of the President and Governor in matters of remission.