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LHC declares Section 402-C of CrPC as ultra vires to Constitution

Lahore: The Lahore High Court (LHC) Wednesday declared Section 402C of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) requiring the consent of victim or heirs for the President of Pakistan to reduce or abolish the punishment of criminals as ultra vires of Constitution, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.


“Under Article 45 of the Constitution, the president’s power to pardon or reduce the sentence is superior. Section 402C limits the powers of the president to some extent and is therefore unconstitutional,” the court ruled.


Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh issued an 18-page judgment on Mubarak Ali’s petition. Mubarak Ali had approached the court over non-abolition of his sentence for murder on medical grounds. He had been sentenced to life in prison in 2006 for Yaqoob’s murder.


The prosecutor argued before the court that under Section 402C, the president or the government had no power to reduce or abolish the sentence of a convict in Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) without the will of the heirs.


“Relief cannot be given because the government’s hands are tied,” he added. “The president has the power to pardon punishment under Article 45 which cannot be stopped under Section 402C,” said the judicial assistant.


At this, the court ruled that the government could refer the case to the president under Article 45 to commute Mubarak Ali’s sentence. It added that the superintendent of jail was responsible for sending report to the inspector general (prisons) for premature release of sick prisoners.


“The IG prisons should send this report to the provincial government for appropriate orders. In this regard, there is a Supreme Court judgement which is not being implemented even after four years,” the ruling said.


“The chief secretary should bring the issue of implementation of the Supreme Court’s decision to the notice of the chief minister,” it directed.