Pardoning Power of the President


Article 72 of the Constitution empowers the President to grant pardons to persons who have been tried and convicted of any offence in all cases where the:

[1] Punishment or sentence is for an offence against a Union Law;

[2] Punishment or sentence is by a court martial (military court); and

[3] Sentence is a sentence of death.

The pardoning power of the President is independent of the Judiciary; it is an executive power.

The pardoning power of the President includes the following:

[1] Pardon—

It removes both the sentence and the conviction and completely absolves the convict from all sentences, punishments and disqualifications.

[2] Commutation—

 It denotes the substitution of one form of punishment for a lighter form. For example, a death sentence may be commuted to rigorous imprisonment, which in turn may be commuted to a simple imprisonment.

[3] Remission—

It implies reducing the period of sentence without changing its character. For example, a sentence of rigorous imprisonment for two years may be remitted to rigorous imprisonment for one year.

[4] Respite—

It denotes awarding a lesser sentence in place of one originally awarded due to some special fact, such as the physical disability of a convict or the pregnancy of a woman offender.

[5] Reprieve—

It implies a stay of the execution of a sentence (especially that of death) for a temporary period. Its purpose is to enable the convict to have time to seek pardon or commutation from the President.