SC allows states to release life convicts but with riders

New Delhi, July 23 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Thursday said state governments could grant remission and set free life convicts whose cases have not been investigated by the CBI or those not probed under central laws.

With this, it has lifted its July 9, 2014 interim order restraining state governments from releasing convicts upon grant of remission.

An apex court constitution bench headed by Chief Justice H.L. Dattu, however, said state governments cannot grant remission in cases where life sentence means entire life or where the term of the sentence has been specified like 20 years or 25 years in rape and murder cases.

The court also said the relaxation to the July 9, 2014 order would not be applicable in respect of the seven convicts in the former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

The court said the states can grant remission where no application was preferred (by the accused) or considered suo moto by the state earlier.

“We also permit the president under Article 72 and the governor under Article 161 to exercise their constitutional powers to grant remission or clemency in such cases,” the court said in its interim order on Thursday.

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