Author : Sandeep Rana
Case Name : Maru Ram v Union of India 1980
1980 AIR 2147, 1981 SCR (1)1196
HON’BLE JUSTICE Y. V. CHANDRACHUD (CJI)
HON’BLE JUSTICE V. R. KRISHNA IYER
HON’BLE JUSTICE P. N. BHAGWATI
HON’BLE JUSTICE SYED M. FAZAL ALI
HON’BLE JUSTICE A. D. KOSHAL
Article 161 is the corresponding provision relating to mercy jurisdiction of the president. Article 72 of the constitution allocate the president’s power to commute or remit sentences imposed on any person for any offence against a law relating to a matter to which the executive power of the Union extends Section 433A (inserted by amendment Act of 1978) puts a restriction on the powers of appropriate government in regard to the remission of sentence of important of life, awarded to accused for certain offence. Section 433A of the Crpc does not contravene the provisions of Article 20 (1), 72 and 161 of the constitution and this section does not forbid parole or other release within the 14 year span.
ISSUE AND FACTS OF LAW
- Whether Section 433A of Crpc would affect Article 72 and Article 161 of the constitution?
- Whether the policy framed under Article 161 for grant of remission override the requirement under Section 433A Crpc?
In this case, the constitutional validity of section 433A of the code of criminal procedure, 1973 was challenged on the ground that it violates provision of Article 14, 20(1), 72 and 161 of the constitution of India. All the petitions belong to one or other of two categories. It was contended that this Section merely blocked an order of government under Section 432 remitting the whole of the unexpired sentence before the convict undergoes at least 14 years imprisonment. The prisoner had not contended in this case of final release without an order of the government under Article 72 and 161, or Section 432 of Crpc.
The court held that the power under Article 72 is to be exercised on the advice of the Central Government and not by the President on his own, and the advice of the government is binding on the head of the Republic.
The Governor’s power to pardon under Article 161 runs parallel with presidential power under Article 72. It has been also observed that all power including constitutional power, should not be exercised arbitrarily or malafide.
In order to save this Section 433A from constitutional infirmity, the court held that the Section will have only prospective operation (the date in which the Section came into force).
It was also held that Section 433A restricts the appropriate government to exercise its powers under Section 432 Crpc, but cannot restrict the Constitutional power under Article 72 and 161 of the constitution of India.