Epuru Sudhakar vs Govt. of A.P. - Supreme Court Case

 Epuru Sudhakar vs Govt. of A.P. - Supreme Court Case Summary of Leading Case - 

On 11th October, 2006, a two Judges Bench in Epuru Sudhakar & Anr. vs Govt. of A.P. & Ors. [Writ Petition (Crl.) Nos.284-285 of 2005] while examining the scope for judicial scrutiny of exercise of clemency/pardon powers by the President and the Governor delivered two separate but concurring judgments.

One of the Hon’ble Judges said that it is fairly well settled that “the exercise or non-exercise of pardon power by the President or Governor” is “not immune from judicial review” and that “limited judicial review is available in certain cases”. He held that “judicial review of the order of the President or the Governor under Article 72 or Article 161 of the Constitution, as the case may be, is available and their orders can be impugned on the following grounds: (a) that the order has been passed without application of mind; (b) that the order is mala fide; (c) that the order has been passed on extraneous or wholly irrelevant considerations; (d) that relevant materials have been kept out of consideration; (e) that the order suffers from arbitrariness.”

The other Hon’ble Judge while agreeing with the said conclusions further held that “exercise of Executive clemency is a matter of discretion and yet subject to certain standards. It is not a matter of privilege. It is a matter of performance of official duty.” He said that this discretion “has to be exercised on public consideration alone”, but cautioned that “considerations of religion, caste or political loyalty are irrelevant and fraught with discrimination” and are “prohibited grounds.” The Hon’ble Judge held that “the power of executive clemency is not only for the benefit of the convict, but while exercising such a power the President or the Governor, as the case may be, has to keep in mind the effect of his decision on the family of the victims, the society as a whole and the precedent it sets for the future.” He added that “a pardon obtained by fraud or granted by mistake or granted for improper reasons would invite judicial review.”

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