The SC has ruled that states cannot exercise their statutory power to remit sentences of the convicts who have been tried and convicted under a central law.
The SC said that, if a convict has been tried under a central law or has been prosecuted by any central agency like CBI or NIA, then the state governments cannot take unilateral decision to remit the sentence unless they consulted the central govt and obtained its concurrence.
Last year, the SC had issued a stay on the power of the states to exercise remission of sentences when a person was convicted under a central law. This year, the stay was lifted and the power of the states was upheld.
Article 72 of the Constitution gives the President the power to grant clemency. Similar power is available to the Governor under Article 161.
Section 432 of Code of Criminal Procedure empowers “appropriate” government to remit or suspend sentence of any convict. Conviction by court cannot be changed, only the execution of sentence can be remitted or suspended.
Section 433 of Cr.P.C similarly empowers “appropriate” government to commute a sentence.
Many governments have misused the powers under 432 and 433. For example, immediately after winning elections, sentences of party workers are often remitted/commuted.