Pardon to Lifers Put on Hold; SC Seeks Input from All States
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday restrained all states from exercising power of remission for releasing convicts, who are serving life sentence, and sought their response on whether the Centre’s nod was needed if prosecuted by central agencies like CBI.
A five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha issued notices to all State governments asking them to file their response by July 18 and posted the case for hearing on July 22. “Meanwhile, State governments are restrained from exercising power of remission for releasing life convicts till the next date of hearing,” the Bench said.
During the hearing, Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar submitted that the Tamil Nadu government has no power to exercise jurisdiction in the cases investigated and prosecuted by central probe agencies like the CBI. “Today, Tamil Nadu has exercised power (of remission). Tomorrow other states would also,” he submitted while reading out the April 25 order of the apex court when the matter was referred to the Constitution Bench by framing the issues that need to be deliberated.
The Solicitor General said that in the cases filed by the CBI or other central agencies, the Central government was the appropriate authority to take such calls. He said while considering the issue of remission, there was also a need to look into the rights of the victims.
The Constitution Bench will decide whether the sentence of a prisoner, whose death penalty has been commuted to life, can be remitted by the government. The Bench will also decide whether life imprisonment meant jail term for rest of the life or a convict has a right to claim remission.
It will also decide whether a special category of sentence may be made for cases where the death penalty might be substituted by punishment of imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term in excess of 14 years.