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Supreme Court allows states to release life convicts but with riders

The Supreme Court has allowed State governments with certain conditions to exercise the power of remission to release life convicts. File photo  

The Supreme Court on Thursday restored to State governments their discretion to grant liberty to life convicts after freezing this power for over a year.

The Supreme Court had ordered a blanket stay against State governments using their power of remission under sections 432, 433 of CrPC to release life convicts >on July 9 last year.

The trigger for the stay order came when Centre challenged the Jayalalithaa government ordering the release of seven life convicts whose death penalty was commuted to life sentence by the Supreme Court.

The modification of the stay order by the Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice H.L. Dattu however came with certain riders.

These include that State governments cannot release those prisoners on remission whose prison terms are specified to continue till the end of their lives.

It held that there is no discretion for States to release life convicts for whom it is specified they should suffer imprisonment for not less than 20 to 25 years.

States' power to exercise remission, the court ordered, is restricted to those cases, which was not investigated by central agency such as the CBI.

The relief of remission would not extend to life convicts who were sentenced to life under central laws such as TADA and for gruesome crime of rape with murder.

The court said that the power of remission of the State governments is subject to constitutional powers of the President and the Governor under Articles 72 and 161, respectively.

The court clarified that this modification of its >July 2014 stay will not apply to the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2020 3:11:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/states-cant-remit-life-sentences-of-murder-rape-convicts-supreme-court/article7456188.ece

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