On Tuesday, the Supreme Court reaffirmed that a life sentence entails rigorous rather than ordinary incarceration.
In this case, a bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai reaffirmed a high court decision from 1983, holding that there is no need to reconsider the entrenched legal position. Two appeals were heard by the Court, one from the Himachal Pradesh High Court and the other from the Gauhati High Court.
The Court had issued a notice in July 2018 that was limited to the question of whether it was proper to stipulate harsh imprisonment while inflicting a life sentence. In its 1983 decision in Naib Singh vs. the State of Punjab, the Supreme Court stated that the legal position regarding the nature of punishment involved in a sentence of life imprisonment is well settled and that the sentence of life imprisonment must be equated to hard life imprisonment.
In Sat Pat Alisa Sadhu against the State of Haryana, the Supreme Court upheld the Naib Singh decision and refused to refer the case to a bigger bench. In light of the foregoing, the Court determined that the issue did not require further deliberation and dismissed the current appeals.
The petitioner was represented by senior counsel A Sirajudeen and advocate Ajay Marwah. The State of Himachal Pradesh was represented by Akshay Amritanshu, Kartikey Singh, and Ankit Kumar Lal, while the State of Assam was represented by Debojit Borkakati.