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Direction To Undergo Other Sentences After Life Sentence Illegal: Supreme Court

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
28 July 2021 4:16 AM GMT
Direction To Undergo Other Sentences After Life Sentence Illegal: Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court observed that a court cannot stipulate that other sentences would begin after expiration of life sentence awarded to convict.In this case, the Trial court had convicted the accused Imran Jalal under sections 121 (Waging, or attempting to wage war, or abetting waging of war, against the Government of India), 121A (Conspiracy to commit offences punishable by section 121),...

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The Supreme Court observed that a court cannot stipulate that other sentences would begin after expiration of life sentence awarded to convict.

In this case, the Trial court had convicted the accused Imran Jalal under sections 121 (Waging, or attempting to wage war, or abetting waging of war, against the Government of India), 121A (Conspiracy to commit offences punishable by section 121), 122 (Collecting arms, etc., with intention of waging war) of the Indian Penal Code, Section 5(b) of Explosive Substances Act, Sections 20, 23(1) of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, and Sections 25(1A), 26(2) of Arms Act. The sentence of imprisonment for the offence punishable under section 5(b) of Explosive Substances Act, 1908, which is the rigorous imprisonment for 10(ten) years, shall commence at the expiration of other sentences of imprisonments (life imprisonment for IPC offences and other sentences under other provisions), the Trial Court directed. The High Court of Karnataka upheld the conviction and sentence awarded to the accused.

Before the Apex Court the accused-appellant contended that this direction[that the sentence of imprisonment for 10 years would commence at the expiration of other sentences of imprisonment] runs counter to the decision of the Constitution Bench in Muthuramalingam v. State

In Muthuramalingam, it was observed thus: The court can, therefore, legitimately direct that the prisoner shall first undergo the term sentence before the commencement of his life sentence. Such a direction shall be perfectly legitimate and in tune with Section 31 CrPC. The converse however may not be true for if the court directs the life sentence to start first it would necessarily imply that the term sentence would run concurrently. That is because once the prisoner spends his life in jail, there is no question of his undergoing any further sentence.

Agreeing with the appellant's contention, the bench comprising Justices Uday Umesh Lalit and Ajay Rastogi observed

"In the instant case, the appellant was awarded life sentence on three counts and sentence of 10 years each on five counts, out of which it was only the sentence in respect of the offence punishable under Section 5(b) of the Explosive Substances Act, 1908, which was subject matter of the last part of the directions in paragraph 9 of the order of sentence. 9. Paragraph 9 of the order of sentence contemplated commencement of the sentence awarded under paragraph 4 of the order of sentence, after the expiration of other sentences of imprisonment. It would, therefore, mean that the sentence in paragraph 4 would begin after the expiration of other sentences including sentence for life awarded under three counts. This stipulation would be against the law laid down by this Court in Muthuramalingam, especially paragraph 35 of the decision as quoted above."

Observing thus, the bench modified the sentence part of the Trial court's order.


Case: Imran Jalal @ Bilal Ahmed @ Kota @ Saleem @ Hadi Vs. State Of Karnataka [CrA 636 OF 2021]
Coram: Justices Uday Umesh Lalit and Ajay Rastogi
Citation: LL 2021 SC 326

Click here to Read/Download Judgment




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