Citation: Pyare Lal Vs State of Haryana.

Case Status: Pending

Date of Judgement:17/07/2020

Equivalent Citation: N/A

Case No.: Criminal Appeal No.1003 of 2017

Case Type: Special Leave Petition

Appellant: Pyare Lal

Respondent: State of Haryana

Bench: Hon’ble Justice Uday Umesh Lalit

Court: Supreme Court of India

Statues Referred:

  • Indian Penal Code 1860; Section 302

Cases Referred:

  • Maru Ram Vs Union of India and others 1980 AIR 2147, 1981 SCR (1)1196,
  • Kehar Singh Vs Union of India 1989 AIR 653, 1988 SCR Supl. (3) 1102 7


  • Application for bail was preferred and when the appliance came up for consideration, it had been reported that after having completed 8 years of actual sentence and therefore the Appellant being aged above 75 years, in accordance with the prevailing policy of the government, he was prematurely released in 2019.
  • This Court, therefore, called upon the State to file an affidavit indicating whether the policy permitted premature release even before completion of actual sentence of 14 years in reference to an offence which was punishable under Section 302 of Indian Penal Code.
  • On the occasion of Independence Day, 15th August, 2019, the Governor of Haryana, in exercise of powers provided by Article 161 of the Constitution of India, was glad to grant exceptional remission to specific categories of convicts, according to the response filed on behalf of the government.

Issues involved:

  • Whether the appellant has been released in Signature which was Not Verified in harmony with any policy; and digitally signed by Mukesh Kumar?
  • Whether that policy permits premature release even before completion of actual sentence of 14 years in reference to an offence punishable under Section 302 of Indian Penal Code?

Contention of Appellant:

The counsel of the Appellant contended that:

  • Mr. Shikhil Suri, learned Advocate to submit that the exercise of laying down the norms by a policy was correct and that the appellant was rightly granted remission; and as the decision in Maru Ram was rendered by the Constitution Bench of this Court, in our considered view, the present matter is required to be placed before a larger Bench.

Contention of Respondent:

The counsel of the Respondent contended that:

  • The respondent’s learned counsel fought the appeal on the ground that any order issued by the President of India under Article 72 of the Constitution of India or by the Governor of a State under Article 161 of the Constitution of India is non-justiciable, and thus the Court cannot inquire into the reasons that led the constitutional functionary to grant a prisoner reprieve or remission.
  • A Constitution Bench of this Court has considered the scope of judicial review of exercise of powers under Articles 72 and 161 of the Constitution of India in Kehar Singh Vs Union of India. Bench after observing that the Constitution of India is a constitutive document which is fundamental to the governance of the country under which people of India have provided a constitutional polity consisting of certain primary organs, institutions and functionaries to exercise the powers provided in the Constitution, proceeded to add thus, “All power belongs to the people and it is entrusted by them to specified institutions and functionaries with the intention of working out, maintaining and operating a constitutional order.” 
  • It was said by the respondent that this Court has no power to touch the order passed by the Governor under Article 161 of the Constitution. If such power was exercised arbitrarily, mala fide or in absolute disregard of the finer canons of the constitutionalism, the by- product order cannot get the approval of law and in such cases, the judicial hand must be stretched to it.

Obiter dicta:

  • The Court, consequently, was justified in interfering with an order gone by the Governor in exercise of power under Article 161 of the Constitution if the Governor is found to possess exercised the facility himself without being advised by the govt or if the Governor transgresses the jurisdiction in exercising an equivalent or it’s established that the Governor has passed the order without application of mind or the order in question may be a mala fide one or the Governor has conceded the order on some unimportant consideration.
  • The pardon power definitely removes the effect of conviction without addressing the defendant’s guilt or innocence. The controlling think about determining whether the exercise of prerogative power is subject to review isn’t its source but its subject-matter.

Ratio Decidendi:

  • It was clearly held that if the pardon power “was exercised arbitrarily, mala fide or in absolute contempt of the finer norms of the constitutionalism, for sure the by-product order cannot get the approval of law and in such cases, the judicial system must be overextended to it”
  • The Court further observed that when the order of the Governor impugned in these proceedings is subject to review within the strict parameters laid down in the case of Maru Ram Vs Union of India and others.


A Special Bench was to be constituted to consider the issues in this case.

  • While yielding Special Leave to Appeal, this Court by its Order dated 04.07.2017 also rejected the prayer for bail.
  • Therefore, it was directed to the Registry to place the matter before the Hon’ble Chief Justice for constituting a Bench of appropriate strength to consider the issues raised in the present matter.


  • Granting of pardon is in no sense an overturning of a judgment of conviction, but rather it’s an executive action that mitigates or sets aside the punishment for a criminal offense . It It cannot be said that prerogative power is ipso facto immune from review . An undue exercise of this power is to be condemned.
  • Considerations of faith, caste or political loyalty are irrelevant and fraught with discrimination. These are prohibited grounds. The Rule of Law is that the basis for evaluation of all decisions.
  • However, even in such cases there has got to exist requisite material on the idea of which the facility is exercised under Article 72 or under Article 161 of the Constitution, because the case could also be. within the circumstances, one cannot draw the rules for regulating the exercise of the facility.



On the occasion of Independence Day i.e., 15th August 2019, the Governor of Haryana in exercise of the powers conferred by Article 161 of the Constitution of India, is pleased to grant special remission to prisoners who are undergoing sentence as a result of their conviction by the Courts of Criminal Jurisdiction in the State of Haryana. The special remission granted will be as under:

Category of Convicts:

The convicts who have been sentenced for life and are 75 years or above in case of male and of 65 years or above in case of female as on 15.08.2019 and have completed eight years of actual sentence in case of male convicts and six years of actual sentence in case of female convicts including undertrial period and excluding parole period and whose conduct has remained satisfactory during confinement and who have not committed any major jail offence in the last two years be released forthwith.

The remission will not be granted to prisoners convicted for the following offences:

  1. Who have been sentenced to death and their sentences have been commuted to life sentence.
  2. Abduction and murder of a child below the age of 14 years.
  3. Rape with murder.
  4. Dacoity or Robbery
  5. Where the Courts have issued any specific order regarding confinement.
  6. Convicts under Terrorist and Disruptive”

Drafted by: Bharti Verma, Chanderprabhu Jain College of Higher studies and School of Law

Edited by: Aashima Kakkar, Associate Editor, Law Insider

Published On: October 6, 2021 at 18:18 IST

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