Multiple life terms to run concurrently: SC

Multiple life terms to run concurrently: SC

Multiple life terms to run concurrently: SC
The Supreme Court on Tuesday held that multiple life terms awarded to a convict for numerous murders would always run concurrently. Any direction for imprisonment of life twice over would be anomalous and irrational, the apex court said.

A five-judge Constitution bench presided over by Chief Justice T S Thakur, however, ruled that such sentences would be super imposed over each other so that any remission or commutation granted by the authority in one case does not ipso facto result in remission of the sentence awarded to the prisoner for the other.
Explaining provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code, the court said, “We hold that while multiple sentences for imprisonment for life can be awarded for multiple murders or other offences punishable with imprisonment for life, the life sentences so awarded cannot be directed to run consecutively.”

“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,” the bench, also comprising Justices F M I Kalifullah, A K Sikri, S A Bobde and R Banumathi, added.

With regard to question as how life imprisonment as well as term sentences should be enforced, the apex court said, the trial court legitimately directs that the prisoner shall first undergo the term sentence before the commencement of his life sentence.

“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,” the court ruled.

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