IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


17th August, 2022 Polity and Governance

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In News

  • The state government of Gujarat has released 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano murder and gang rape case of 2002.
    • They were released under the remission and premature release policy of the state government.


Law on Remissions

  • Under Articles 72 and 161 of the Indian Constitution, the President and Governors have the power to pardon, suspend, remit, or commute a verdict passed by the courts.
  • Since prisons are a state subject, state governments also have authorities under Section 432 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) to remit sentences.
  • Section 433A of the CrPC puts certain limitations on state government powers of remission:
    • Where a sentence of life imprisonment is imposed on a person for an offence for which death is one of the punishments provided by law.
      • Such person shall not be released from prison unless he had served at least fourteen years of imprisonment.
    • Prisoners are usually released on the birth and death anniversaries of prominent leaders and other important events (Independence Day, Republic Day, Gandhi Jayanti, etc).



Grounds for remission

  • The many States have set up their Sentence Review Board to exercise the powers under Section 432 of the CrPC.
    • The policy varies from state to state; broadly the grounds for remission considered by the Board are the same.
  • The Supreme Court has highlighted that states cannot arbitrarily exercise the power of remission and they must need to follow due process.
  • The following factors need to be considered before granting remission;
    • The seriousness of the crime.
    • The status of the co-accused.
    • Conduct of accused in jail.
  • The Supreme court in the ‘Laxman Naskar v. Union of India’ (2000) case verdict has laid down 5 grounds on which remission is considered:
    • Whether the offence is an individual act of crime that does not affect society.
    • Whether there is a chance of the crime being repeated in future.
    • Whether the convict has lost the potential to commit a crime.
    • Whether any purpose is being served in keeping the convict in prison.
    • Socio-economic conditions of the convict’s family.
  • Jail manuals contain rules that allow certain days of remission every month for the good behaviour of convicts.
    • However, convicts serving life sentences are entitled to seek remission only after serving a minimum of 14 years.