Can the word ‘rigorous’ be added by courts when they award life imprisonment?
The Supreme Court has agreed to examine the question whether courts are statutorily empowered to make life imprisonments tougher for the convicts by adding “rigorous” (harsh) to life sentence as the law does not provide for this.
A bench headed by Justice P C Ghose considered a submission which said that neither the penal provision dealing with the offence of murder, nor the Code of Criminal Procedure provide that the term “rigorous” can be added by courts while awarding life sentence to convicts. “Let notice be issued in the matter limited to the question whether life imprisonment could be coupled with the condition that such imprisonment has to be rigorous imprisonment, returnable after four weeks,” the bench said.
Senior advocate Parmanand Katara, appearing for convict Ram Kumar Sivare has contended that the judgement pronounced by the courts below was “unconstitutional and ultra-vires” as penal and procedural laws do not empower them to qualify the life sentence with the term “rigorous”.