Important Judgements of Supreme Court in 2015 | Part 4

Catch up on the previous links to this series:

#7. States cannot unilaterally grant remission

Union of India vs. Sriharan


In a setback to seven life convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case which includes four Sri Lankans, will remain in Vellore Central Prison in Tamil Nadu, as a five judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court ruled that the Tamil Nadu government headed by J Jayalalithaa could not have unilaterally granted them remission.


  • Since the case was probed and prosecuted by CBI, a central agency, the decision should not have been taken without the “concurrence” of the Central government
  • Life sentence in such cases should mean life in jail till death
  • ‘REMISSION CAN BE CANCELLED’: SC upheld the 2008 Swamy Shraddananda judgment- Courts can ignore remission right of prisoner in heinous crimes like mass murder and terrorism by awarding sentences ranging from 20 to 40 years unless it is not rarest of rare offences meritting death sentence.
  • Interpreting Section 435 (2) of the CrPC: the word ‘consultation’ means ‘concurrence’. This means that TN Govt should have got the prior consent of the Centre before issuing its February 19 order to remit the sentences.

Politics of remission:

Read more here: reviving the politics of remission

Recently polls have been announced in Tamil Nadu.
There is every possibility that remission action can be used as a trump card to gain votes.
So, need we not check this as it goes against Model Code of Conduct- influencing votes by populist policies?

What does Election Commission of India has to say on it?
Q- Would action be taken if any reference was made on the Tamil Nadu government’s decision to remit the life sentence of the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convicts?
Ans- As and when the reference comes, the Commission will take an appropriate view to ensure that our voters are not influenced.

#8. Minimum Edu Qualification rule for Panchayat elections upheld

Rajbala vs. State of Haryana


Two Judge Bench of the Supreme Court of India upheld the validity of Haryana Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Act, 2015 (Act 8 of 2015), which introduced the minimum educational qualification for candidates to contest the panchayat elections. The Bench consisting of Justice Chelameswar and A.M.Sapre held that both the rights namely “Right to Vote” and “Right to Contest” are not fundamental Rights but only constitutional rights of the citizen.


  • Prescription of an educational qualification is not irrelevant for better administration of the PANCHAYATS
  • The classification cannot be said either unreasonable or without a reasonable nexus with the object sought to be achieved
  • Every person who is entitled to vote is not automatically entitled to contest for every office under the Constitution
  • Constitution itself imposes limitations on the right to contest depending upon the office
  • It also authorises the prescription of further disqualifications/qualification with respect to the right to contest


Supreme Court also upheld the clauses of the Act which disqualify persons who are in arrears of amounts to cooperative bodies and the electricity bills and also if a person has no functional toilet at his place of residence.

Published with inputs from Swapnil

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