Judicial Reforms

Pardoning Powers of Governor

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Article 161

Mains level : Pardoning power of president vs. governor

The Supreme Court has recently said that the investigation into the conspiracy behind Ex-PMs assassination in 1991 need not deter the Governor from deciding the plea for pardon of convicts.

What did the court say exactly?

  • The court made it clear that it was reluctant to exercise its jurisdiction when the Governor was already seized of convict’s plea for a pardon under Article 161 of the Constitution.

Try this PYQ now:

Q.Which of the following are the discretionary powers given to the Governor of a State?

  1. Sending a report to the President of India for imposing the President’s rule
  2. Appointing the Ministers
  3. Reserving certain bills passed by the State Legislature for consideration of the President of India
  4. Making the rules to conduct the business of the State Government

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 1 and 3 only

(c) 2, 3 and 4 only

(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4

Pardoning Powers of Governor

  • Article 161 deals with the Pardoning Power of the Governor.
  • The Governor can grant pardons, reprieves, respites and remissions of punishments or suspend, remit and commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence against any law relating to a matter to which the executive power of the state extends.
  • The Governor cannot Pardon a Death Sentence. (The President has the power of Pardon a death Sentence).
  • The Governor cannot grant pardon, reprieve, respite, suspension, remission or commutation in respect to punishment or sentence by a court-martial. However, the President can do so.

Back2Basics:

  • Pardon: means completely absolving the person of the crime and letting him go free. The pardoned criminal will be like a normal citizen.
  • Commutation: means changing the type of punishment given to the guilty into a less harsh one, for example, a death penalty commuted to a life sentence.
  • Reprieve: means a delay allowed in the execution of a sentence, usually a death sentence, for a guilty person to allow him some time to apply for Presidential Pardon or some other legal remedy to prove his innocence or successful rehabilitation.
  • Respite: means reducing the quantum or degree of the punishment to a criminal in view of some special circumstances, like pregnancy, mental condition etc.
  • Remission: means changing the quantum of the punishment without changing its nature, for example reducing twenty-year rigorous imprisonment to ten years.

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