Kerala

Governor questions HC orders

P. Sathasivam

P. Sathasivam   | Photo Credit: H_Vibhu

Sees encroachment on his clemency powers, returns file on remission of sentence

The government on Wednesday informed the High Court that it was unable to grant remission of sentence to 739 convicts as Governor P. Sathasivam had returned the file saying that the court’s interim orders encroached on the clemency powers of the Governor.

In an additional affidavit filed before the court, the government said when the files containing the list reached the Governor, he said a directive of the Full Bench of the High Court for “placing the order passed by the Governor before the court and before releasing the convicts and the rider that they would be released only when the court permits so encroaches upon the clemency power of the Governor enshrined under Article 161 of the Constitution of India which should always remain untouched and which cannot be exercised by the court”

The Governor said he was “exercising the power vested in him under Article 161 of the Constitution.... Though the power exercised under Article 161 of the Constitution of India by the Governor is amenable to judicial review in a limited sense, yet the court cannot exercise such power. In other words, the constitutional power of remission provided under Article 161 of the Constitution of India will always remain untouched”.

The government had earlier sought permission to grant special remission of sentences to 739 prisoners by modifying the court’s earlier interim orders in the matter. The court had restrained releasing any convict but later allowing the government to consider cases individually.

Accordingly, the government had constituted a Cabinet subcommittee for examining the cases relating to special remission in detail. Of the 1,264 prisoners recommended by the Director General of Prison and Correctional Services, the Cabinet subcommittee found that 739 were eligible for special remission.

The government said in an affidavit that the subcommittee had recommended that the remissions could be granted for a period of 50% of substantive sentences subject to the maximum of two years. The subcommittee, while examining the cases, had considered certain guidelines such as conduct of prisoners in jail, socio-economic condition of the convicts’ family and excluded those convicted of heinous crimes, including Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act cases, and those convicted in political murder cases.

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 2:17:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/governor-questions-hc-orders/article23437358.ece

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