Pardoning Power of President – Article 72, Remission, Reprieve, Respite

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

The pardoning power of President is included under Article 72 of the Indian Constitution. As per the article, the President can give pardons, respites, remissions, or reprieves of sentences or stop, commute, or remit the punishment of someone convicted of any unlawful act under The Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) where the penalty is a death sentence. The pardoning power of President comes into action when India’s President takes a step on any case of a sentence or the verdict of an individual condemned of a crime.

He exercises the pardoning power of President by taking suggestions from the Council of Ministers. The President can grant clearing extends in cases where a Court Martial performs the sentence. According to Article 72, the President of India has the command to allocate not only the order of pardon but also give orders of reprieve, respite, remission or commutation. This article comprehends the 5 types of pardoning power of President, their objectives, and Judicial importance.

Pardoning Power of President in India

The pardoning power is established in concern of the public interest and is to be exercised on the foundation of public welfare. The pardoning power of President is of five types that are listed below-

  • Commute
  • Pardon
  • Remit
  • Reprieve
  • Respite

5 Pardoning Powers of President

The Pardoning power is an antique concept of early times when a domineering ruler used to own the dominion to penalize or dismiss any punishment. The pardon power of President is a component of a Constitutional scheme in India.

President Pardoning Power- Types
Types of Pardon by President Detail
Pardon The pardon power of the President gives him the authority to remove both the punishment and judgment. He entirely forgives the prisoner from all punishments and disqualifications.
Respite Power of President This power lets the President reduce the punishment which is officially granted because of some specific reason. For example, in case of pregnancy of a woman culprit, or if the convict is dealing with a physical disability.
Commute The pardoning power of the Commute replaces one penalty form with another less rigid one. For illustration, a death punishment can be commuted to severe or simple imprisonment.
Reprieve Power of President The power indicates a stay of the enactment of a death penalty for a temporary duration. It gives some time to the prisoner and allows him to seek pardon or commutation from the President.
Remit According to the pardoning power of Remit, the President decreases the time duration of the punishment, but the nature of the verdict stays the same. For instance, a penalty of strict confinement of 2 years can be remitted to one year, but the imprisonment would remain stringent.

Objective of Pardoning Power of President

A pardon is an act of forgiveness, compassion, and mercy. Following are the fundamental objectives of the Pardoning power of President.

  • Pardoning power can be helpful to protect a blameless person from getting punished due to injustice or in circumstances of a suspicious conviction.
  • The expectation of being forgiven acts as a gratuity for the criminal and enables solving the concerns of lockup discipline.
  • While making final decisions, it is preferable to offer freedom to a guilty lawbreaker instead of punishing an innocent person.
  • The pardoning power is required to fix potential judicial mistakes, as the human judicial administration system can never be free of faults.

What is the Significance of Article 72 of Indian Constitution?

Article 72 of Indian Constitution authorizes the President to give pardons, and to stop, remit, or commute penalties in particular cases, including:

  • in all chances where the sentence is by a Court Martial.
  • in all matters where the penalty is for a misdeed of law connecting to an issue which the Union executive authority expands;
  • in all cases where the punishment is a death sentence.

Procedure to Establish Pardoning Power of President of India

The process for granting pardoning power begins with filling a mercy petition under Article 72 of Indian Constitution by the President.

  • The petition is dispatched to the Ministry of Home Affairs for review by the Central Government.
  • The cited petition is debated and conferred between the Home Ministry and the respective Government of State.
  • After all discussions, the Home Minister performs the suggestions, and the final petition is submitted to the President.

Pardon Power of President Judicial Review

The British sovereign historically granted pardon power during their reign. Listed are the popular court cases, along with their judicial review. In following court cases, the tribunal listed distinctive grounds on which such analysis could be exercised.

Court Cases Judicial Review
Maru Ram vs Union of India The Supreme Court held that the power should be exercised on the recommendation of the Central Government under Article 72 and not the President.
Swaran Singh vs State of U.P The court held the Governor’s order to be unplanned and therefore prohibited it.
Kehar Singh vs Union of India It held that the pardon power of President was an act of dignity and hence could not be declared right and justiciable.

Pardoning Power of President UPSC

The Pardoning Power of President topic is enclosed under Indian Polity (General Studies-II) of the UPSC Exam. It is essential from the perspectives of the Prelims, Mains, and Interview phases. The answers to the Pardoning Power of President UPSC questions should be memorized, along with relevant explanations.

Candidates can refer to Indian Polity notes to get an extensive and clear idea of all the major doubts regarding the topics and sub-topics of Polity Notes. The Pardoning Powers of President differ from the Pardoning Powers of the Governor. UPSC aspiring candidates can understand the Pardoning powers of Governor in depth by clicking on the linked article.

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