A bench headed by S J Mukhopadhaya set aside the Orissa high court verdict which directed that various jail terms, including life term imprisonment, awarded to a convict to run consecutively.
“In view of the fact that life imprisonment means imprisonment for full and complete span of life, the question of consecutive sentences in case of conviction for several offences at one trial does not arise. Therefore, in case a person is sentenced of conviction of several offences, including one that of life imprisonment, the proviso to Section 31(2) shall come into play and no consecutive sentence can be imposed,” the bench said.
“It is clear that a sentence of imprisonment for life means a sentence for entire life of the prisoner unless the appropriate government chooses to exercise its discretion to remit either the whole or a part of the sentence under the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code,” the bench said.
The bench was hearing an appeal filed by one Duryodhan Rout challenging his conviction and jail term awarded by the trial court and the high court.
“In view of the aforesaid discussions and decisions rendered by this court, we hold that the trial court was not justified in imposing the sentence under IPC Section 376(f)/302/201 to run consecutively. The high court failed to address the said issue,” it said.