Freedom or Jail: Who Plays God?

Publication Information

Journal Title: Journal of Legal Studies & Research
Author(s): Garima Raman & Shashwat Suraj
Published On: 11/09/2023
Volume: 9
Issue: 4
First Page: 219
Last Page: 231
ISSN: 2455-2437
Publisher: The Law Brigade Publisher

DOI: 10.55662/JLSR.2023.9404

Cite this Article

Garima Raman & Shashwat Suraj, Freedom or Jail: Who Plays God?, Volume 9 Issue 4, Journal of Legal Studies & Research, 219-231, Published on 11/09/2023, 10.55662/JLSR.2023.9404 Available at


This article explores the selective cases of release of life convicts, their legality and fallout, and its impact on the criminal justice delivery system. In recent times, debate has been engendered by the release of a convict, an ex-legislator who was serving a life sentence for the murder of a young IAS officer. Political expediency trumped over the penological consequences and the Bihar Government released him after 14 years of imprisonment. This by no means is the solitary instance and not long ago in the month of August, 2022 the State Govt. of Gujarat had granted remission to the 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano who were serving their sentence for the offense u/s 302, 376 r/w Section 149 of Indian Penal Code. This article also examines the constitutional and statutory responsibilities associated with the power of remission of the President, Governor and the State Government. Related issues are the power of the President under Article 72 and the Governor under Article 161 of the Constitution. The prolonged delay in disposing of mercy petitions for death row convicts has emerged as a pressing issue in the Indian legal system. It argues that the power of pardon is not a matter of grace or privilege, but a fundamental duty of the highest authorities, aimed at ensuring justice rather than defying it. It delves into the concept of pardon, commutation, and remission, explaining their interrelated but distinct nature. The constitutional and statutory provisions empowering the President, Governor, and relevant governments to exercise these powers are also discussed. Furthermore, the article emphasizes the need for transparency, fairness, and consistency in the justice system. By examining the divide between the two categories of cases and the public concerns they raise, this article sheds light on the challenges faced by India’s legal framework in ensuring justice is not only served but also seen to be served.

Keywords: Justice Delivery System, Remission, Pardon, Life Imprisonment, Natural Justice.

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