433A.Restriction on powers of remission or Commutation in certain cases
“Notwithstanding anything contained in section 432, where a sentence of imprisonment for life is imposed on conviction of a person for an offence for which death is one of the punishments provided by law, or where a sentence of death imposed on a person has been commuted under section 433 into one of imprisonment for life, such person shall not be released from prison unless he had served at least fourteen years of imprisonment.”
The Law Commission had in its 42nd Report submitted in June, 1971 suggested numerous changes in the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Pursuant thereto an Amendment Bill No. XLII of 1972 was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on December 11, 1972 proposed wide ranging changes in the IPC.
One change proposed was to bifurcate section 302, IPC into two parts, the first part providing that except in cases specified in the second part, the punishment for murder will be imprisonment for life whereas for the more heinous crimes enumerated in clauses (a) to (c), of sub-section (2) the punishment may be death or imprisonment for life.
A motion for reference of the Bill to the Joint Committee of both the Houses was moved in the Rajya Sabha on December 14, 1972 by the then Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs and was adopted on the same day. The Lok Sabha concurred in the motion of the Rajya Sabha on December 21, 1972. The Joint Parliamentary Committee presented its report to the Rajya Sabha on January 29, 1976 recommending changes in several clauses of the Bill.
While retaining the amendment proposed in section 302, IPC, it recommended inclusion of one more clause (d) after clause (c) in sub-section (2) thereof and at the same time recommended deletion of section 303, IPC. It also recommended substitution of the existing section 57, IPC, by a totally new section, the proviso whereto has relevance. The proposed proviso was as under:
“Provided that where a sentence of imprisonment for life is imposed on conviction of a person for a capital offence, or where a sentence of death imposed on a person has been commuted into one of imprisonment for life, such person shall not be released from prison unless he had served at least fourteen years of imprisonment.”
The reason which impelled the Committee to introduce the above proviso was “That sometimes due to grant of remission even murderers sentenced or commuted to life imprisonment were released at the end of 5 to 6 years.”
The Committee, therefore, felt that such a convict should not be released unless he has served atleast 14 years of imprisonment. It is evident from the scheme of the aforesaid recommendations that the proviso was intended to apply to only those convicts who were convicted for a capital offence (this expression was defined by clause 15 of the Bill recommending substitution of section 40, IPC, as `an offence for which death is one of the punishments provided by law’) or whose sentence of death was commuted into one of imprisonment for life and not to those who were governed by the first part of the proposed section 302, IPC.
Pursuant to the recommendations made by the Committee, two bills, namely, the IPC (Amendment) Bill, 1978, came to be introduced, the former was passed with changes by the Rajya Sabha on November 23, 1978 while the latter was introduced in the Lok Sabha on November 8, 1978, and in the Rajya Sabha on December 5, 1978.
The proposal to add a proviso to the proposed section 57, IPC did not find favour as it was thought that the said subject matter appropriately related to Chapter XXXII of the Code and accordingly the said provision was introduced as section 433A in the Code.
While the amendments to the Code became law with effect from December 18, 1978, the IPC amendments, though passed by the Rajya Sabha could not be got through the Lok-Sabha and lapsed. It may here be mentioned that the IPC Bill as approved by the Rajya Sabha contained the proposal to divide section 302 into two parts, in fact an additional clause was sought to be introduced in the second part thereof and sections 305, 307 and 396 were also sought to be amended as proposed by the Committee. This in brief is the legislative history.