Life term, jail terms for other offences can’t run together:SC

supreme courtThe Supreme Court has reiterated that life imprisonment means imprisonment for full and complete span of life and jail terms for other offences cannot run consecutively.

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.

(Source: PTI)

Homosexuality is an offence: SC

ddThe Supreme Court on Wednesday set aside the decision of the Delhi high court, which had in 2009 decriminalised sexual relation between persons belonging to same sex.

The apex court upheld the constitutional validity of Section 377 of Indian Penal Code that makes anal sex a punishable offence.

LGBT activists, whose sexual relationships had been legalised by the Delhi HC, broke down inside the court room.

Parliament is authorised to remove Section 377, but as long as this provision is there, the court can not legalise this kind of sexual relationship, the SC bench observed.

“It is for the legislature to look into desirability of deleting section 377 of the IPC,” the apex court said.

A bench of Justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya had reserved judgment on March 27 last year on a bunch of petitions, many arguing in support and some against the HC verdict, after hearing arguments on a day-to-day basis for over a month.

The judgment, coming after nearly a year and nine months of remaining reserved, is the last one to be pronounced by Justice Singhvi, who retires on Wednesday (11-12-13).

While pleading for decriminalisation of gay sex, the Centre had subsequently told the court that the anti-gay law in the country had resulted from British colonialism and the Indian society was much more tolerant towards homosexuality.

The Delhi high court had on July 2, in 2009 decriminalised gay sex as provided in Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and had ruled that sex between two consenting adults in private would not be an offence.

Section 377 (unnatural offences) of the IPC makes gay sex a criminal offence entailing punishment up to life term.

Those in favour of the Delhi HC verdict and those opposed to it are divided on religious considerations. While liberal organizations, including NGOs advocating LGBT rights, are supporting the HC decision, those opposed to it are mainly from religious groups belonging to Hindu, Muslim and Christian communities.

Those who challenged the Delhi HC verdict, which came on a petition filed by NGO ‘Naz Foundation’, included BJP leader B P Singhal, All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Utkal Christian Council and Apostolic Churches Alliance.

The Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Tamil Nadu Muslim Munn Kazhagam, astrologer Suresh Kumar Kaushal and yoga guru Ramdev have also opposed the verdict.

(Source: IANS)

States, UTs no for statues at public places: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court restrained all the state governments and Union Territories from granting permission for erecting statues or construction of any structure at public places which obstructs traffic movement.

However, the apex court said that this order would not apply for installation of structures like street lights which facilitate smooth traffic movement.

The order was passed by a bench comprising justices R M Lodha and S J Mukhopadhaya while dealing with an application filed against the Kerala government for granting permission for the erection of a statue of a leader at a particular point on a national highway.

“Until further orders, we direct that status quo be maintained where the statue is permitted to be installed,” the bench said.

“Henceforth, the state (Kerala) government would not grant any permission for statue or construction of any structure at public places, roads or any places of public utility,” it said.

The bench clarified that “this would not apply for installation of traffic utility structures like street lights etc.”

According to the bench, “The above order shall also apply to all other states and Union Territories.”

The application against the Kerala government was filed in the pending petition in which the Supreme Court had already directed all the state governments to remove unauthorised constructions including places of worships from roads and public places.