Updated: September 15, 2021 3:34:44 am
A sentence of life imprisonment would mean rigorous imprisonment and not simple imprisonment, the Supreme Court reiterated Tuesday.
The court ruling came on appeals against two judgments of the Gauhati and Himachal Pradesh high courts which upheld the conviction of accused on the charge of murder and sentenced them to rigorous imprisonment for life.
“In view of the authoritative pronouncements of this court on the issues that arise for consideration in these SLPs, there is no need to re-examine the limited point for which notice was issued,” a bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and B R Gavai ruled, reaffirming its 1983 judgment in the case Naib Singh vs State of Punjab and Others.
The bench pointed out that in the Naib Singh case, “the petitioner was originally sentenced to death for committing an offence of murder… Later, the death sentence was commuted to imprisonment for life by the Government of Punjab. After having undergone sentence of 22 years, Naib Singh filed a Writ Petition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India challenging his continued detention. One of the points argued by the petitioner relates to sentence of imprisonment for life not to be equated to rigorous imprisonment for life. By taking into account the earlier judgments of this court….this Court in Naib Singh’s case held that the sentence of imprisonment for life has to be equated to rigorous imprisonment for life”.
The court had in the Naib Singh case held that “there is no dearth of judicial precedents where, in the matter of nature of punishment, imprisonment for life has been regarded as equivalent to rigorous imprisonment for life”. “The position in law as regards the nature of punishment…is well settled and the sentence of imprisonment for life has to be equated to rigorous imprisonment for life.”
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