Snehal Upadhyay –
The Supreme Court observed that any Court cannot stipulate that other sentences would begin after the expiration of the life sentence that is awarded to a convict.
The Trial Court in a case held, Imran Jalal convicted under Section 121 (Waging, or attempting to wage war, or abetting waging of war, against the Government of India), Section 121A (Conspiracy to commit offences punishable by section 121), Section 122 (Collecting arms, etc., with intention of waging war) of the Indian Penal Code, Section 5(b) of Explosive Substances Act, Sections 20, 23(1) of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, and Sections 25(1A), 26(2) of Arms Act.
The Trial Court observed that punishment under Section 5(b) of the Explosive Substances Act is 10 years imprisonment, which shall commence after the completion of all the other sentences including life imprisonment.
The Karnataka High Court upheld the conviction and the punishment awarded to the accused.
In the Supreme Court, the accused-appellant argued that this decision of the Trial Court to commence the sentence of 10 years imprisonment after completion of other sentences of imprisonment goes against the directions laid down by the Constitutional Bench in the case of Muthuramalingam v. State.
In the case Muthuramalingam v. State the Court held that the convicted person should first complete its term sentence then should be commenced with life imprisonment sentences.
The division bench comprising of Justices Uday Umesh Lalit and Ajay Rastogi agreed on the argument of the appellant and observed that “In the instant case, the appellant was awarded life sentence on three counts and sentence of 10 years each on five counts, out of which it was only the sentence in respect of the offence punishable under Section 5(b) of the Explosive Substances Act, 1908, which was the subject matter of the last part of the directions in paragraph 9 of the order of sentence. 9. Paragraph 9 of the order of sentence contemplated commencement of the sentence awarded under paragraph 4 of the order of sentence, after the expiration of other sentences of imprisonment. It would, therefore, mean that the sentence in paragraph 4 would begin after the expiration of other sentences including the sentence for life awarded under three counts. This stipulation would be against the law laid down by this Court in Muthuramalingam, especially paragraph 35 of the decision as quoted above.”
The bench further modified the Trial Court’s order and held that the order for completion of other sentences afterlife sentence Illegal.