SC: Principles of Section 433-A CrPC don’t & can’t apply to exercise of Constitutional power under Article 73 or Article 161

The Hon’ble Supreme Court, on 17th July 2020, in the matter of Pyare Lal v. State of Haryana observed that the principles of Section 433-A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 do not and cannot apply to the exercise of constitutional power either under Article 72 or under Article 161 of the Constitution.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that:

The principles of Section 433-A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 do not and cannot apply to the exercise of constitutional power either under Article 72 or under Article 161 of the Constitution. It has always been accepted that no limitation can be read into the exercise of such constitutional power and that the sovereign power would not be bound by restrictions emanating from Section 433-A of the Code.  (Para 10)

Whether in exercise of power under Article 161 of the Constitution, a policy could be laid down setting out certain norms or postulates, on the satisfaction of which the benefit could thereafter be conferred upon or granted to the convicts by the executive without even placing the individual facts and material pertaining to the case of the convict, before the Governor?

The relevant material must be placed before the Governor in order to enable him to exercise the power under Article 161 of the Constitution and failure on that count could result in quashing of the concerned orders of remission issued under Article 161 of the Constitution. (Para 12)

The power must be exercised depending upon the facts and circumstances of the concerned case and based on facts and materials of the case (Para 12)

The entirety of the matter must be before the Governor for exercise of power under Article 161 of the Constitution and all the relevant aspects including seriousness of the crime and the manner in which the crime was committed must also be part of the consideration. That exercise of power alone, where all the relevant facts and circumstances of the case were considered, is to be accepted to be correct and valid. (Para 12)

The Bench comprising of Hon’ble Justice U.U. Lalit, Hon’ble Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar and  Hon’ble Justice Vineet Saran  then proceeded upon to refer the following question to a larger bench:

Whether in exercise of power conferred under Article 161 of the Constitution a policy can be framed, whereunder certain norms or postulates are laid down, on the satisfaction of which the benefit of remission can thereafter be granted by the Executive without placing the facts or material with respect to any of the cases before the Governor and whether such exercise can override the requirements under Section 433-A of the Code.

Copy of judgement: Judgement_17-Jul-2020

-Adv. Tushar Kaushik

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