GRANT OF REMISSION Syllabus GS Paper 2 – Polity)

News-CRUX-10     9th January 2024        

Context: Recently, the Supreme Court highlighted that the grant of remission to 11 men serving life sentences in the Bilkis Bano case was a "classic case" of exploiting a Supreme Court order to breach the law.

Grant of Remission

  • About: Remission is the complete ending of a sentence at a reduced point. It differs from furlough and parole, as it involves a reduction in sentence rather than a temporary break from prison life.
  • Nature of Sentence: In remission, the nature of the sentence remains unchanged, while the duration is shortened. The individual is not required to serve the remainder of the original sentence.
  • Release and Conditions: The effect of remission is the assignment of a specific release date for the prisoner, and legally, they attain the status of a free person.

Background of the Remission System

  • Legal Basis: The Remission system is defined under the Prison Act, 1894, outlining rules for awarding marks to prisoners, thereby shortening their sentences.
  • Judicial Perspective: In the Kehar Singh vs. Union of India (1989) case, the court emphasized that prisoners have the right to be considered for remission. Denying this right goes against principles of reformation and leaves the convict without hope for freedom.
  • Executive Power: State of Haryana vs. Mahender Singh (2007) established that while there is no fundamental right to remission, the state, through its executive power, must consider individual cases, taking relevant factors into account.

Constitutional Provisions on Remission

  • President's Power: Under Article 72, the President can grant pardons, reprieves, respites, or remissions for offenses tried by a court-martial, under Union government executive power, and in cases involving death sentences.
  • Governor's Power: Article 161 grants the Governor the authority to grant pardons, reprieves, respites, or remissions for offenses falling under the State's executive power.