President may form own opinion on mercy pleas: SC

New Delhi, April 13 (IANS) The Supreme Court has said that while the president or a governor cannot overturn its final verdict, in appropriate cases they can form an opinion whether a case is made out for grant of pardon or reprieve.

An apex court bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya said: “Although he/she (president/governor) cannot overturn the final verdict of the court, but in appropriate cases, (they) can, after scanning the record of the case, form his/her independent opinion whether a case is made out for grant of pardon, reprieve, etc.”

The observation came while answering a question about the nature of power vested in the president under Article 72 and the governor under Article 161 of the constitution.

The court was answering a question arising from the arguments of the counsel appearing in the case for 1993 Delhi bomb blast convict Devender Pal Singh Bhullar Friday by amicus curiae Ram Jethmalanmi and T.R. Andhyarujina. The court said this in its verdict rejecting Bhullar’s mercy petition.

“While exercising power under Article 72, the president is required to act on the aid and advice of the council of ministers,” the court said.

While maintaining that the president was bound by the aid and advice of the council of ministers, the court said that in tendering its advise to the president, the central government was duty bound to “objectively place the case of the convict with a clear indication about the nature and magnitude of the crime committed by him, its impact on the society and all incriminating and extenuating circumstances”.

The court said that same was true for the state government, which is required to give advice to the governor for exercising his/her powers under Article 161 of the constitution.

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