The word ‘pardon’ literally means the action of forgiving for an offence. Article 72 of the Indian constitution talks about the pardoning power of president and article 161 of the Indian constitution talks about the pardoning power of the Governor.

The issue raised before the apex court that the pardoning power of governor to release prisoner without completing his 14 years in jail is inconsistent with the section 433A of CRPC.

On Tuesday, Supreme Court held that the governor as constitutional head of state can pardon prisoner under article 72 or 161 including the prisoners punished with death punishment and not completed 14 years of minimum imprisonment.

Section 433A of code of criminal procedure says that a prisoner can be remitted only after 14 year of jail.

Justice Hemant and justice Bopanna observed that the power of pardon of governor overrides the rule provided under section 433A of code of criminal procedure.

Governor is exercising sovereign power of pardon under article 72 or 161 of Indian constitution. He exercises his power after the consultation with state government. He cannot himself make the decision of pardoning. Section 433A of CRPC cannot limit the sovereign power. Governor can grant pardon to prisoner who was not gone to jail for 14 years as required by section 433A of CRPC.

The government can issue order for commutation of sentence/release of prisoner without permission of governor. But under rules of business it’s necessary to seek the approval from governor.

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