Consecutive life terms are an anomaly: SC

  • The constitution Bench of the Supreme Court of India, in a very important statement , has come out and stated that like any human being, a convict too has only one life and cannot serve consecutive sentences of life imprisonment.

    It was an explanation on why there is no point in awarding life sentences twice and thrice over to those found guilty of heinous crimes.

    Multiple life sentences will be served concurrently and not consecutively, the court held. “Any direction that requires the offender to undergo imprisonment for life twice over would be anomalous and irrational for it will disregard the fact that humans, like all other living beings, have but one life to live,” the judgment authored by Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur interpreted the law.

    The vexing question before the Constitution Bench was “whether consecutive life sentences can be awarded to a convict on being found guilty of a series of murders for which he has been tried in a single trial?”

    To this, Chief Justice Thakur asked what was the meaning of awarding “consecutive” life sentences to a person when a 'life imprisonment' extends to the very death of the offender, who has but one life.


    The statement of the Supreme Court is both wise and very important. According to the facts, 41 countries allow concurrent/consecutive life terms, while 90 allow concurrent life terms. More than 50 countries allow consecutive life terms. The decision and statement given out also makes complete sense. Triple life imprisonments do not. When the person has been punished for his entire life, you can only top that off by death punishment and not a life imprisonment again.

    Visit the Indian Kanoon section of LawRato to learn more on Indian Laws.

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