P L D 1977 SC 212

Muhammad Asghar


Government of Sindh

Per Muhammad Gul, J–

Constitution of Pakistan (1973) Art. 45–

r/w Martial Law (Pending Proceedings)

Order (P.O. 14 of 1972) Art. 5–

The rule is fully stated in paragraph 59 at page 555 ibid in these terms:–

“The general rule is that where an office has been forfeited in consequence of a conviction of a criminal offence, the subsequent pardon of the person convicted does not restore him to the office so forfeited, although the pardon doubtless restores him to eligibility for appointment or election to his office. It is likewise well settled that a pardon does not restore one to a license or other special privilege forfeited by reason of his conviction of a crime of which he is disbarred following his conviction of crime, a pardon of that crime does not of itself restore his right to practice law, and the same rule applies to a physician whose license has been revoked following conviction of a crime of which he is subsequently pardon………………

Similarly, the following statement on pardons in paragraph 11 at pp. 576-578 of Corpus Juris Secundum, Volume 67 is also instructive :–

“………………………………………………. It has been stated that the effect of a full pardon is to make the offender a new man, and that full pardon blots out the existence of suit, so that in the eye of the law the offender is an innocent as if he had never committed the offence.  However, these statements, characterized as generalizations, have not been universally accepted, recognized, or approved. Moreover, a pardon does not so operate for all purposes, whether the pardon is, or is not, based on the innocence of the prisoner ; since as the very essence of a pardon is forgiveness or remission of penalty, a pardon implies guilt; it does not obliterate the fact of the commission of the crime, and the conviction thereof : according to the judicial decisions on question it does not wash out the moral stain ; as has been tersely said it involves forgiveness and not forgetfulness.

in the same paragraph at page 580 it is stated :–

“Where a public office has been forfeited by conviction of a crime, a subsequent pardon does not operate to restore the pardoned person to the office so forfeited.  Moreover, while it has been held that a pardon restores to the offender his eligibility to hold public office, including an office which may have been forfeited by his conviction, it has also been held, on the ground that the right to hold office is a political privilege rather than a civil right, that the pardon of the executive will not remove disqualification for public office resulting from conviction of crime.  A statute providing that one of the qualifications for office or employment under civil service is a good moral character, and that one convicted of a felony is not of good moral character and is therefore, disqualified, has been held to be invalid in so far as it may be applied to bar conclusively one who has received a full pardon ; and under such statute it has been held that, while a pardon does not itself restore the character of the pardoned individual applying for public office or employment, the offender is entitled to an opportunity of proving that, although he committed the acts resulting in his conviction, he is now man of good moral character…………………………”

Thus it will be seen that according to the above statements of law, a free pardon does not restore a convicted person to public office forfeited by or in consequence of conviction; nor does it restore a right to a license or practice a profession which has been revoked because of the conviction, through it may remove disability for fresh grant or employment. [p. 217] D

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