The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that a life term means rigorous imprisonment for life and added that there was no need to re-examine this aspect of the law, Bar and Bench reported.
A bench of Justices LN Rao and BR Gavai passed the judgement after two appeals were filed by Mohammed Alfaz Ali and Rakesh Kumar, both convicted for murder in separate cases.
Both the petitioners had been convicted and sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for killing their wives, according to the Hindustan Times.
The petitioners had argued that a life sentence should not be equated with rigorous imprisonment for life.
In 2018, the Supreme Court had agreed to hear their appeals only related to the propriety of specifying rigorous imprisonment while imposing a life sentence, PTI reported.
Section 53 of the Indian Penal Code states that rigorous imprisonment is one that involves hard labour, but the provision does not define what it constitutes. In simple imprisonment, inmates are allowed to work only on their request and subject to their physical fitness.
In 1983, the Supreme Court had also held that a life sentence means rigorous imprisonment for life in the case of Naib Singh vs State of Punjab.
The court on Tuesday said that three subsequent judgements also affirmed the same legal position. The bench also noted that the Naib Singh judgement had also relied on two previous verdicts, including the case of Gopal Vinayak Godse versus State of Maharashtra.
Gopal Godse was the younger brother of Nathuram Godse. Both the siblings were convicted for the murder of Mahatma Gandhi. Nathuram Godse was hanged to death in 1949, Gopal Godse was sentenced to life imprisonment.
“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 Supreme Court said.