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Section 432 of CrPc: Why in the News?

In this Article we are going to discuss in detail the Power to Suspend, remit or commute the sentence of accused.

Section 432 of CrPc:

Apart from the power of conferred on the President of India and the Governor of state by Article 72 and 161 of Constitution of India, to suspend, remit or commute any sentence.

State Government or appropriate Government can also suspend, remit or commute sentence of a accused empowered through Section 432 of CrPc.

Detailed explanation of Section 432:
  1. Any person who has been sentenced to punish for an offence; appropriate government at any time either with condition or without condition remit the whole or any part of the Punishment to which he has been sentenced.
  2. On receiving any application for the suspension or remission of a sentence the appropriate government may require the court concern.
    1. To state its opinion with reasons as to whether the application should be granted or refuse.
    2. To forward with statement of such opinion a certified copy of the record of the trial.
  3. The appropriate government may cancel true suspension, remission of a sentence, If it is opinion the condition for granting such suspension or remission is not fulfilled.
  4. The condition on which the sentence is suspended or remitted may be one to be fulfilled by the offender or one independent of his will.

The Court have rule that appropriate government has the power to classify the prisoners for the purpose of granting remission. But this does not mean that the court can grant special remission to the offender belonging to the Schedule Cast and Schedule Tribes. No special consideration is, however to be extended to dignitaries like MLAs, in granting premature release.

Bilkis Bano And Case Facts:

Bilkis Bano is a gang-rape survivor happened during the Godhra kand in Gujrat 2002. She was 21 years old and five months pregnant at times, when seven member of her family where brutally killed by rioters.

According to the chargesheet of the case Bilkis and her family was attacked by 20-30 people with swords and sticks. Among the attackers 11 of them were found guilty and was punished by Mumbai special court a life time imprisonment in year 2008.

Why This Case In News?

One of the convict, had approached Gujrat High court seeking remission of sentence under section 432 and 433 of the CrPc. The High court dismissed the Plea and said that " appropriate Government " can take a decision on remission and this case will be decided by Maharashtra state Government and not by Gujrat state Government.

The accused filed the Plea in Supreme Court that he has completed 15 years and 4 months without remission. The apex Court directed Gujrat Government to look into the issue of remission of his sentenced.

The Gujrat Government formed a committee which was headed by Collector Sujal Mayatra. The committee took a decision to convict all the 11 accused by using the power empowered in Section 432 of CrPc.

Gujarat Remission Policy 1992 v/s 2014 Policy

According to 1992 Gujrat remission Policy can remit any accused who has punished for imprisonment for life time after the completion of 14 years irrespective of offence is grievous or not.

In 2014 State government made a amendment in 1992 policy and made a compulsion of non-remission of accused who had done a crime of Grievous or Heinous in nature [eg. Rape, Murder etc.]

According to State:

Gujrat Government implemented the 1992 policy in 2022 for the remission of accused in the Bilkis Bano case, Gujrat Additional chief Secretary (Home) Raj Kumar stated the reason for using 1992 policy instead of 2014 policy was that Supreme Court has directed the Gujrat Government to relied on policy that was in effect at the time of their conviction in 2008. Further he also classified that convicted not release under the central remission guideline as apart of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.

According to Adv.Rishi Malhotra, who represent the Convict in the Apex Court stated that the Supreme Court was faced with a question using remission policy in place at a time of conviction (1992) or Policy in place at time of Consideration of Remission (2014)?

Supreme Court decided the state government to use policy at the time of conviction.

What do you think of using Gujrat Remission Policy 1992 in this case was a right decision or not?

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