ISLAMABAD The Supreme Court in its detailed judgement regarding prisoners remissions said on Wednesday that NAB courts convicted prisoners also have a right to get pardon. The court declared article 10-D of the NAB Ordinance ultra vires of the Constitution and struck it down after which the convicts in NAB cases will equally be entitled to receive reduction or amnesty in their sentences under article 45 of the Constitution. The judgment authored by Justice Tassadaq Hussain Jilani declared the Section 10-D of the NAB Ordinance as null and void due to which the convicts under the NAB law will have a right to get pardon. According to the verdict, under Article 45 of the Constitution, the President has powers to curtail the sentence of prisoners. A seven-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had reserved the judgment in this case after detailed hearing of the case last year. Other members of the bench included Justice Mian Shakiruallah Jan, Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, Justice Ch Ijaz Ahmed (Retd) Justice Tariq Pervez, Justice Asif Khosa and Justice Khalil-ur-Rehman. The judgment further said, article 45 of the Constitution states, The President shall have power to grant pardon, reprieve and respite, and to remit, suspend or commute any sentence passed by any court, tribunal or other authority but before the announcement of the Supreme Court verdict in this case NAB convicts were not entitled to be given this relief under the said article by the President. The Court on September 10, 2009 framed issues and notices were issued to Deputy Attorney General and Advocate Generals of the four provinces, Whether under Article 45 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the President enjoys unfettered powers to grant remissions in respect of offences and no clog stipulated in a piece of subordinate legislation can abridge this power of the President as held by this Court in Abdul Malik & others v. The State & others (PLD 2006 Supreme Court 365); ii) whether the policy formulated by the Government of Pakistan, Ministry of Interior, dated August, 2009 is inconsonance with the judgment delivered by larger bench of this Court in case Shah Hussain v. The State (PLD 2009 Supreme Court 460); iii) whether the Prison Rules as enumerated are subservient to Article 45 and in case of any conflict between Prison Rules and above-referred judgments as well as special remissions under Article 45 of the Constitution and what would be the legal position of the said Rules; and iv) whether any classification would be permissible in view of the nature. Accusation in case special remission is granted by the President of Pakistan, in view of the provisions as enumerated in Article 25 of the Constitution, the judgement explained. The issues of the extent of presidential power under such a provision, the manner of its exercise and whether it is immuned from being challenged in a court has been a subject of debate both within the country and in jurisdictions across the frontier. The courts verdict mentioned, Every country recognizes and has, therefore, provided for this (presidential) power to be exercised as an act of grace in proper cases. It is by now well recognized that Without such a power of clemency to be exercised by some department or functionary of government, a country would be most imperfect and deficient in its political morality and in that attribute of deity whose judgments are always tampered with mercy. The Court further observed, Permissible classification is allowed provided the classification is founded on intelligible differentia which distinguishes persons or things that are grouped together from others who are left out of the group and such classification and differentia must be on rational relation to the objects sought to be achieved by the Act. There should be a nexus between the classification and the objects of the Act. This principle symbolises that persons or things similarly situated cannot be distinguished or discriminated while making or applying the law. It has to be applied equally to persons situated similarly and in the same situation. Any law made or action taken in violation of these principles is liable to be struck down. If the law clothes any statutory authority or functionary with unguided and arbitrary power enabling it to administer in a discriminatory manner, such law will violate equality clause. Thus, the substantive and procedural law and action taken under it can be challenged as violative of Articles 8 and 25. In Saleem Raza Vs the State (PLD 2007 Karachi 139), convict under the NAB Ordinance had challenged inter alia challenged the vires of Section 10(d) of the NAB Ordinance which mandated that convict under the NAB Ordinance shall not be entitled to any remission in his sentences. The precise contention was that the said provision was discriminatory and violative of Article 25 of the Constitution. A Full Bench of the Sindh High Court relying on precedent case law of this Court came to the conclusion that class legislation was forbidden; that permissible classification is allowed provided it is founded on an intelligible differentia which distinguishes persons or things that are grouped together from others who are left out of the group and such classification and differentia must have relation with the object sought to be achieved by the Act. Any law made or action taken in violation of these principles was liable to be struck down. Keeping this principle in mind, the Court held that a comparative examination of the provisions contained in the NAB Ordinance and Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947, indicated that those provisions were substantially the same and there was no difference in the offences of criminal misconduct contained in Section 5 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947, and corrupt practices defined in Section 9 of the NAB Ordinance. The Court did not comment on the vires of a similar provision in Anti-Terrorism Act as the same was not under challenge but merely observed as follows: We will make a tentative observation to the effect that the object of enacting the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, is entirely different from the object sought to be achieved through the enactment of NAB Ordinance and the provision in every law is to be considered on its own merits with reference to the particular law under consideration. However, the Court declared the following provisions as intra vires:- i) Sub Section 1 of Section 401 Cr.P.C which stipulates that the Provincial Government shall have no power to suspend or remit any sentence awarded to an offender under Chapter XVI of the PPC, if an offence has been committed by him in the name or on the pretext of Karo Kari, Siah Kari or similar other customs or practices. The judgment says, It has been a consistent view of this Court that classification is permissible provided the same is backed by law, rules or is based on reasonable differentia. For the exercise of authority under Article 45 of the Constitution, classification of convicts on the basis of accusation is permissible as the President may, inter alia, like to grant remissions to those who are not accused of heinous offences and may refuse it to those accused of serious or terrorism related offences, it concluded.