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The President

 The President

The clemency power of the President is one of the powers which has been conferred on the executive. Article 72 of the Indian Constitution confers the power of pardon on the President and Article 161 gives the same power to the Governor

Scope of pardoning power 

The scope of clemency power by the President under Article 72 of the Indian Constitution is wider than the pardoning power of the Governor as mentioned under Article 161 of the Indian Constitution. Article 72 condors the power on the President to grant pardon, reprieve, respites, or remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the punishment of any person convicted in crime in the following cases-

  1. Where the punishment is by court-martial.

  2. Where the punishment is for the offense against any law relating to the matters of executive power of the union.

  3. Where the sentence is a death penalty.

Article 161 confers the power of clemency on the Governor to grant pardon etc in certain cases. The Governor of the State shall have the power to grant clemency, reprieves, respites, or remission of punishment or to suspend or cancel or lessen the punishment of any person convicted of any offense. 

The powers of President and Governor differs in the following ways:

  1. The power of the President to grant clemency extends in the cases where the punishment is by the Court Martial but Article 161 does not provide such power to the Governor under Indian Constitution.

  2. The President can allow pardon in all cases where the sentence of death  but the pardoning power of the Governor does not extend to the death sentences cases. 

Purpose of pardoning power

A pardon is an act of granting mercy, forgiveness, clemency. The Constitution of India empowers the President and Governors to grant mercy or pardon to any person. The President is granted the power of clemency with the view that there should be provisions in the legislation to save the person from the consequences of punishment adjudged by carelessness and mistake against that person by the judiciary. It is, for this reason, the provision of mercy is included in the Constitution of India. 

As per the views that come forward about the existence of clemency in contemporary times. One of them includes the Hegelian view that promotes clemency power which enhances justice in society. Another one who believes in rehabilitation and redemption theory. The belief is that the person should get a second chance to become a good person and their reasoning is based on public welfare. 

The object of pardoning power is to correct judicial errors, for no human system of judicial administration can be free from imperfections. The pardon is an instrument of mercy and the way to correct those grave injustices either on their facts or by an anticipated operation of the criminal’s laws that simply must be reminded. Hence, clemency power is an indispensable element of even the perfect system of laws.


The President




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