The Apex Court constitution bench headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu said that the state government could grant remission and release the convicts only in consultation with the Central government as the case was investigated and prosecuted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The court said consultation would mean concurrence of the Centre. The court said this while answering reference by a three-judge bench which had asked the constitution bench to address seven questions framed by it. In the case of heinous crimes, the court by a majority verdict held that it could sentence the accused to life imprisonment, meaning the whole life without remission.

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