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Ethical Issues with Remission

GS Paper 4

 Syllabus: Determinants and consequences of ethics in-human actions.


Context: The article argues that the recent remissions of Anand Mohan Singh and the convicts in the Bilkis Bano case are ethically wrong and politically motivated.

About Remission:

Dimension Description
Definition The complete ending of a sentence at a reduced point without changing the nature of the sentence.
Purpose To provide prisoners with the hope of release and encourage reformation.
Legal Basis Constitutional provisions under Articles 72 and 161 and Statutory Power under Sections 432, 433, 433A, 434 and 435 of the CrPC.
Eligibility Any person convicted of any offence, is subject to certain conditions and the discretion of the appropriate government.
Conditions Breach of any condition will result in cancellation of remission and the need to serve the full sentence.
Evaluation Each case must be considered on an individual basis, taking into account relevant factors.
Fundamental Right The Supreme Court has clarified that no convict has a fundamental right to remission, but the state must give due consideration to every case of clemency.
Remission vs Pardon Remission is the reduction of a sentence without changing its nature, while pardon is the complete forgiveness of a sentence and the removal of all legal consequences associated with it.


Ethical issues with remission:

Ethical Issues Examples
Injustice to victims Remission of sentence for convicts in the Bilkis Bano case who were found guilty of raping and murdering multiple people, including a pregnant woman, during the 2002 Gujarat riots.
Political interference Remission of sentence for Anand Mohan Singh, a former MP and convicted criminal who was involved in multiple cases of violence and murder. He was granted remission after his wife, also a former MP, appealed to the Chief Minister of Bihar.
Lack of accountability Remission being granted without proper evaluation of the convict’s behaviour or reformation during the sentence.
Discrimination based on social status Convicts from privileged backgrounds being granted remission more often than those from marginalized communities.
Lack of transparency Lack of clear guidelines or criteria for granting remission, leading to inconsistency and possible favouritism.
Disregard for the severity of the crime Remission being granted for heinous crimes, such as murder or rape, without proper consideration for the severity of the offense and its impact on the victim and their family.



Remission is an important aspect of the criminal justice system that allows for the reduction of a sentence for a prisoner. It should be used judiciously and with consideration of principles of justice, mercy, and public safety.


Insta Links

The injustice of exceptionalism


Mains Links

What are the ethical considerations in the granting of remission for prisoners, and how should governments balance the principles of justice, mercy, and public safety in making these decisions? (150 Words)