No further sentence after life sentence: Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court found a Karnataka trial court’s order directing a convict to spend another 10 years in jail after he completes his life sentence rather “irrational”.

The top court pondered on what the trial judge meant. A Bench, led by Justice U.U. Lalit, said life imprisonment normally means prison till death. A human being, like all other loving beings, has but one life. How is it possible for a person to serve 10 years of jail after life?

Justices Lalit, accompanied by Justice Ajay Rastogi, said it would have made sense had the trial court ordered the prisoner to serve the 10 years in jail before the commencement of his life sentence.

Once a convict is sentenced to life, the prison sentence for his other crimes should be served concurrently. That is the law, the top court said.

The case was an appeal filed by convict Imran Jalal, through senior advocate Siddharth Dave.

Jalal was sentenced for life in three counts and 10 years of prison in another five counts.

But what bothered Mr. Dave, which led to the appeal, was the trial court’s decision to have Jalal serve a decade in prison under the Explosives Substances Act after he completes his life term.

“The legal position is fairly well-settled that imprisonment for life is a sentence for the remainder of the life of the offender unless of course the remaining sentence is commuted or remitted by the competent authority... Any direction that requires the offender to undergo imprisonment for life twice over would be anomalous and irrational for it will disregard the fact that humans like all other living beings have but one life to live,” Mr. Dave argued, quoting from the top court’s own judgments from the past.

The Bench agreed with the senior lawyer’s argument on the finiteness of life, saying, “Once the prisoner spends his life in jail, there is no question of his undergoing any further sentence.”

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Printable version | Oct 26, 2021 9:40:12 AM |

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