P L D 1993 SC 17
Per Shafiur Rahman, J.
(a) Constitution of Pakistan (1973), Articles 45 & 185:
Articles 45 & 185(3) — Criminal Procedure Code (V of 1898), Sections 374 & 402-A — President’s Commutation of Death Sentence Order dated 7th December, 1988 commuted all death sentence awarded by the Military or other Courts up to 6th December, 1988, to imprisonment for life — Interpretation placed by High Courts on the said Commutation Order limited its scope of application only to convicts whose sentence had been confirmed by the High Court by the target date depriving its benefits to those convicts who were sentenced to death by Sessions Courts but their sentences were awaiting confirmation — Leave to appeal was granted to examine the true scope and effect of clause (a) of the Commutation Order dated 7th December, 1988 which was to the effect that the President was pleased to order to commute all death sentences awarded by the Military or other Courts up to the sixth of December, 1988, to imprisonment for life. [p. 25]A
Article 45 — Criminal Procedure code (V of 1908), Section 402-A — Amnesty order by President — Interpretation — Each amnesty order has to be interpreted and given effect to on its own words and not by reference to an earlier or different amnesty order. [p. 29]B
AHMAD ALIAS AHMUN AND 3 OTHERS V. THE STATE 1991 PCrLJ 1445; MUHAMMAD ASLAM V. SUPERINTENDENT, DISTRICT JAIL AND OTHERS PLD 1977 SC 39 discussed.
Article 45 — Criminal Procedure code (V of 1898), Sections 374 & 402-A — President’s Commutation of Death Sentence Order dated 7th December, 1988 — President by order dated 7th December, 1988 commuted death sentences awarded by Military or other Courts up to the 6th December, 1988 to imprisonment for life — Scope and effect of the order — Sentence of death awarded by the Sessions Courts but not confirmed till the target date by the High Courts, whether fell within the scope of the Order — Decisions of High Courts denying the benefit of the Commutation of Death Sentence to convicts whose death sentences were passed by Sessions Courts but were not confirmed by High Courts till the crucial date — Validity — Expressions “death sentences awarded by the Courts” and “awaiting the execution of death sentences” — Distinction.
The expression “awaiting the execution of death sentences” would restrict the categories to those whose cases and completed the stages of confirmation, appeal and remedies by way of mercy petition etc. The expression “awarded the sentence of death” will have certainly a different connotation than “awaiting the execution of death sentence”. [p. 30]C
Article 45 — Criminal Procedure Code (V of 1898), Section 402-A — President’s Commutation of Death Sentence Order dated 7th December, 1988 — Relief under Commutation of Death Sentence Order was available not only to those convicts whose death sentences had been confirmed by High Courts and who were awaiting the execution of death sentences but its benefits reached also to those convicts who were sentenced to death even by Sessions Courts while their sentence of death was awaiting confirmation by the High Court — Supreme Court accepting the petition restored the benefit of amnesty to all those who had been sentenced to death by Courts up to 6.12.1988 irrespective of the confirmation of sentence of death by the higher Courts in appeal or otherwise. [p. 31]F