Power of Pardon


Pardon means to forgive a person for the offence he has done.

Under the Indian constitution the power to grant pardon has been conferred on the President of India under article 72 and the Governor of states under article 161.

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The object behind pardoning power is to correct possible judicial errors and miscarriage of justice. It is a mean to prevent innocent from a punishment.

Under article 72 the mercy petition is filed to the President and his powers are as follows-

1. Pardon – The president can totally absolve / acquit the person for the offence and let him go free like a normal citizen.

2. Commutement – To reduce the type of punishment into a less harsher one.
For example: Rigorous imprisonment to simple imprisonment.

3. Remission – To reduce the punishment without changing the nature of the punishment.
For example: 20 years rigorous imprisonment to 10 years rigorous imprisonment.

4. Reprieve – A delay is allowed in the execution of a sentence, usually death sentence for a guilty person to prove his innocence.

5. Respite – Reduce the degree of punishment looking at specific grounds like Pregnancy etc.

Note: The judicial powers can be exercised by the president at any stage which means before, during or after trial.

Difference between the pardoning power of President and Governor

1. President can pardon the death sentence but the Governor has no power to pardon the death sentence.

2. The President can pardon in case of court martial. But the Governor cannot pardon in court martial.

3. President exercises his judicial powers for the punishment which is given under the law made by the union. Whereas the Governor exercises his judicial powers for the punishment which is given under the law made by the state.

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