Stays single judge order that set aside commutation of his life sentence
The Karnataka High Court has stayed a single judge order that set aside commutation of life sentence of Manjunath from Mandya district and directed the Home Department to arrest him without warrant.
A Vacation Bench headed by Justice A.S. Bopanna passed the order on Tuesday on a writ appeal by Mr. Manjunath challenging the single judge's order on March 9. The bench directed the appellant to appear before the station house officer of K.R. Pet police station in Mandya every Monday till the disposal of the appeal.
In his appeal, Mr. Manjunath contended that the power of pardon vested with the Governor under Article 161 was above the provisions of Section 433A of the Criminal Procedure Code.
Single Judge Justice N. Kumar had held that commutation of sentence of 285 life convicts on the occasion of Suvarna Karnataka by the H.D. Kumaraswamy government on August 15, 2006 was bad in law.
In all, 309 life convicts were released, out of which 285 had served just eight years' sentence. One Ramakrishna of Mandya had challenged commutation of sentence of Manjunath, who had killed his father in 1998.
Mr. Justice Kumar said that the governor was not under any obligation to grant commutation if the government's advice was contrary to Parliamentary mandate. On the remaining 284 convicts, the court asked the governor and the government to cancel the pardon to send out a loud and clear message.
Before exercising his powers under Article 161, the governor should apply his mind to the government's advice, the court said. It observed that the government had powers to commute life sentence only after 14 years under Section 433A of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
The vacation bench ordered issue of notices to the State government and Home Department on a writ petition filed by T.H. Lakshminarayana, challenging his suspension as superintendent of Bangalore Central Prison, Parappana Agrahara.
The petitioner contended that he was suspended on March 23 for the alleged release of an undertrial prisoner S.M. Masood on December 27, 2011, without proper court orders.
However, Mr. Lakshminarayana argued that he followed all the procedure before releasing the accused on bail. He sought a direction to quash the suspension order and said he just had seven months service.