Won’t re-examine already settled law of life term: SC
New Delhi: The Supreme Court Tuesday refused to reopen the debate whether life sentence should be treated as rigorous imprisonment for life, saying it has been authoritatively decided that way in various verdicts including the one involving younger brother of Nathuram Godse, convicted in the Mahatma Gandhi assassination case.
A bench of Justices L N Rao and B R Gavai passed the order while hearing two separate appeals filed by convicts in different murder cases raising the question whether life sentence awarded to them would be treated as rigorous imprisonment for life.
In view of the authoritative pronouncements of this Court on the issues that arise for consideration in these SLPs (Special Leave Petitions), there is no need to re-examine the limited point for which notice was issued, the bench said.
The top court said that in 1985 case of Naib Singh versus Punjab, which related to the same question of law, this court has relied on earlier judgements including on 1945 Privy Council case of Pandit Kishori Lal versus King Emperor and 1961 case of Gopal Vinayak Godse versus Maharashtra to hold that the sentence of imprisonment for life has to be equated to rigorous imprisonment for life .
Gopal Vinayak Godse was younger brother of Nathuram Godse and was convicted in 1949 for his role in assassination of the Mahatma Gandhi and was sentenced for life imprisonment.
The law laid down by this Court in Naib Singh’s was followed by this Court in three judgments Dilpesh Balchandra Panchal versus State of Gujarat, Sat Pal alias Sadhu versus State of Haryana and Mohd. Munna versus Union of India, the top court said.
It dismissed the appeal filed by one Md Alfaz Ali, who was convicted under section 302 of IPC and was sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for life.
His appeal against the conviction and sentence was dismissed by Gauhati High Court in 2016 after which he moved the top court.
On July 27, 2018 the top court agreed to hear his appeal restricted to the question of propriety of specifying rigorous imprisonment while imposing life sentence.
The top court also dismissed another appeal, filed by Rakesh Kumar, challenging the verdict of Himachal Pradesh High Court by which his conviction and sentence under Section 302 IPC was upheld.
According to the prosecution, Kumar had killed his wife on the suspicion of her infidelity.
On August 24, 2018, the top court had agreed to hear his plea limited to the question of propriety of specifying rigorous imprisonment while imposing life sentence.