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Article 161

  • IASbaba
  • May 5, 2022
  • 0
Indian Polity & Constitution
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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Polity
  • Mains – GS 2 (Appointment to various Constitutional Posts, Powers, Functions and Responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.)

In News: Tamil Nadu Governor has made a reference (mercy petition) under Article 161 to the President

Article 161

  • Article 161 provides that the Governor of a State shall have the power to grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence against any law relating to a matter to which the executive power of the State extends.
  • It is on lines with Article 72 conferred upon President of India

Article 72: provides the pardoning power to the President of India, it says:

The President shall have the power to grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence-

  • in all cases where the punishment or sentence is by a Court-martial;
  • in all cases where the punishment or sentence for an offence against any law relating to a matter to which the executive power of the Union extends;
  • in all cases where the sentence is a sentence of death.

Supreme Court has noted that

  • The President has to act on the advice of the Council of Ministers while deciding mercy pleas
  • The sovereign power of a Governor to pardon a prisoner under Article 161 is actually exercised by the State government and not the Governor on his own.
  • The advice of the appropriate government binds the Head of the State.

What Happened?

  • Tamil Nadu state governor has referred the mercy petition under Article 161 to the President for his consideration
  • The state government stand is that the Governor has not only obstructed the implementation of the decision of the Council of Ministers, which had the unanimous backing of the Legislature, but he also proceeded to refer the matter to the President for his consideration which violates the principles of constitution.

Previous Year Questions (PYQs)

Q.1) Which of the following are the discretionary powers given to the Governor of a State? (2014)

  1. Sending a report to the President of India for imposing the President’s rule
  2. Appointing the Ministers
  3. Reserving certain bills passed by the State Legislature for consideration of the President of India
  4. Making the rules to conduct the business of the State Government

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 1 and 3 only
  3. 2, 3 and 4 only
  4. 1, 2, 3 and 4

Source: The Hindu

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