- May 5, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Context: President has no role to play in Perarivalan’s plea, says SC
Observation of Court:
- Supreme Court disagreed with the Central government’s suggestion that the court should wait till the President took a call on Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convict A.G. Perarivalan’s mercy plea referred to him by the Tamil Nadu Governor for a decision.
- Under Article 161 of the Constitution, the Governor was bound by the aid and advice given by the Tamil Nadu Council of Ministers in September 2018 to the Governor to release Perarivalan, who has already served over 30 years of his life sentence.
- The Governor prima facie had no authority to transfer the mercy plea to the President. There was no role for the President here under the Constitution.
Background of Rajiv Gandhi Assasination case https://optimizeias.com/rajiv-gandhi-assasination-case/
What is Mercy petition?
- A mercy petition is filed by a convict to change his/her punishment (especially capital) into a lesser form of punishment. It is also called clemency petition/plea or executive clemency.
- Mercy Petition can be exercised after all the legal remedies were exhausted. (Legal remedies include all the remedies available under prevailing law and Constitution).
- A petition can be filed with the President (under Article 72 of the Indian Constitution)or the governor (under Article 161 of the Constitution).
Procedure to file a Mercy petition:
- After extinguishing all the reliefs in the court of law, either the convict in person or his relative on his behalf may submit a written petition to the President.
- The petitions are received by the President’s secretariat on behalf of the President, which is then forwarded to the Ministry of Home Affairs for their comments and recommendations.
- The Home Ministry in consultation with the concerned State Government discusses the merits of the petition.
- After the consultation, recommendations are made by the Union Home Minister and then, the petition is sent back to the President for his decision.
- Even though the President and Governor are the executive heads, but they cannot exercise their discretion with regard to their powers under Articles 72 and 161.
- Both the executive heads are required to act on the advice of CoM
- The advice of the appropriate Government binds the Head of the state.
Pardoning Power of the President
- Pardon: The president can totally acquit the person for the offence and let him go free like a normal citizen.
- Commute: To reduce the type of punishment into a less harsh one. For example Rigorous imprisonment to simple imprisonment.
- Remission: To reduce the punishment without changing the nature of the punishment. For example 20 years rigorous imprisonment to 10 years rigorous imprisonment.
- Reprieve: A delay is allowed in the execution of a sentence, usually a death sentence for a guilty person to prove his innocence.
- Respite:Reduce the degree of punishment looking at specific grounds like pregnancy, old age etc.