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Right to life imprisonment

1. Introduction:
“Convicts are not by mere reason of the conviction denuded of all
the fundamental rights which they otherwise possess.”
The sentence of imprisonment is quite confusing in many
jurisdiction. A prison is a place in which individuals are physically
confined or detained and usually deprived by a range of personal
freedom. Imprisonment is a legal punishment that may be imposed by
the state, for the commission of a crime or disobeying its rules. The
objective of imprisonment varies in different countries and may be
a) Punitive and for incapacitation
b) Deterrence and
c) Rehabilitation and reformative
The primary purpose and justification of imprisonment is to
protect society against crime and retribution. The United Nation has
also provided several standards and guidelines through minimum rules
or basic principle in the treatment of prisoners (United Nation, 1977).
The state is under an obligation for protecting the human rights of
its citizens as well as to protect the society at large and its authorized to
do so. To protect the citizens from any possible abuse of his authority,
they are given certain basic privileges recognized by the constitution of

2. Meaning, Definition and History of life imprisonment:
a) Meaning : Life imprisonment means any of imprisonment for a
serious crime under which convicted person is to remain in prison
for the rest of his or her life or until paroled.
b) Definition:
The Supreme Court had said in 2012 order “The prisoner has no
such right. A convict undergoing life imprisonment is expected to
remain in custody till the end of his life, subject to any remission
granted by the government.”
In 2004 Criminal Procedure Act defines life imprisonment means
“Imprisonment for the natural life of convicted person.”
c) History:
When parliament was considering abolition of the death penalty,
there were many MPs who were against the reform and the deal
offered was that former capital offences would always inevitably merit
a mandatory life sentence. Accordingly, life imprisonment replaced the
death penalty or punishment for murders, firstly for those whose
sentence were commuted and later for those whose crimes were not
“aggravated” within the homicide act 1957
. To begin with, it was
fairly common for those sentences to life to be released in around 10 to
15 years.

1. The University of San Francisco law school’s center for lae and global justice
has found no cases outside of the United States in which the sentence
imposed on juveniles.
As time passed it came to be thought that longer sentences
should be imposed, especially in certain cases. Such as the Home
Secretary was empowered to make whole life orders to ensure that
particularly dangerous or heinous criminals were never released

presently mandatory lifers serve an average of 14 years and for other
lifers the average has been in decline and now stands at 9 years.

3. Types of Life Imprisonment:
1) Life imprisonment without the prospect of parole, prohibition
or remission of a sentence under section 309(3)(a) , section
309(3)(b), section 309(3)(c) , section 309(3)(d).

2) Life imprisonment with the prospect of parole, probation , or
remission of a sentence after an offender convicted of treason
has served a period of imprisonment of not less than 25 years
in terms of section 309(3)(a).

3) Life imprisonment with the prospect of parole,probation or
remission of a sentence after an offender convicted of murder
has served a period of imprisonment of not less than 20 years
in terms of section 309(3)(b).

2. Roher Finlo (2006 – 06 – 16). “The history of life” BBC news, retrieved

4) Life imprisonment with the prospect of parole, probation or
remission of a sentence after an offender convicted of rape
other than rape under a statute has served a period of
imprisonment of not less than 15 years in terms of section
309(3)(c) and an offer convicted of robbery served a period of
imprisonment for not less than 15 years in terms of section
The above provisions indicate the life imprisonment in
Criminal Procedure Act 2004
. This is because the sentence of
life imprisonment could mean anything from imprisonment
for 15 years or for the remainder if the offender’s natural life.
4. Life Imprisonment relating to human right in India:
The Indian freedom struggle played a crucial role in initiating
the process of identifying certain rights for the prisoners. After
Independence, the Constitution of India conferred a number of
fundamental rights upon citizens
. Article 21 of the Constitution
Protection of life and liberty.
“No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty
except according to procedure established by law.”

3. The code of Criminal Procedure Act 2004.
4. The Hindu express dated 25,2012.

In a celebrity case Maneka Gandhi Vs. Union of India
court opened up a new dimension and laid down that the
procedure cannot be arbitrary, unfair or unreasonable. This was
further upheld Francis Coralie Mullin Vs. The Administrator. The
Indian Judiciary particularly the Supreme Court in the recent past
has been very vigilant against violation of the human rights of
5. International convention on Life Imprisonment:
Capital Punishment is one of the most debated issues
around the world. The United Nation General recognized that in
case of capital punishment there is a need for high standard of
fair trail to be followed by every country.
Article 7 of the International Convenant on Civil and
Political Rights (ICCPR) 1966 provides that one shall be subjected
to torture to cruel
inhuman or degrading treatment or
punishment. By several resolutions the United Nations suggested
protection of human right of the person facing capital punishment
which were again approved by economic and social council in
resolution No.5 of 1984(26
May 1984).

5.1978 AIR 597, SCR (2) 621.
6. Universal declaration of human right article 7 in 1948.

The 6
protocol of the European Convention on human right
1982 provides for the complete abolition of death sentence in peace
time of all members. On 3
May 2002, the 13
protocol to the
European Convention of the Protection of human rights and
fundamental freedom which provides for the total abolition of death
penalty in all circumstances.
6. National Convention of Life Imprisonment:
The Indian Penal Code 1860 (IPC) is the public law and the
substantive Criminal law which defines crimes and prescribes
punishments. Section 53 of the Indian Penal Code provides Death
sentence and life imprisonment for life as alternative punishments.
In Muthu Vs. State of Punjab
, the court declared 303 is un
constitution because it is not in tune with Articles 14 and 21 of the
7. Case law:
State Vs. Shree Gopal and Mani Gopal
, the Delhi High Court
awarded as minimum 20 years. In March 2010, the same judgement
was cited as a precedent by a trail judge in Delhi who however decided
that a 30 years term would be appropriate State Vs. Jitender and
, the supreme court itself has ranged from 20-35 years and even
to whole life sentences.

7.AIR 1978 SC 898.
8.31 August 2009, Delhi High Court.
9.11 December 2007.
In 2011, the United States, Supreme Court ruled that sentencing
minors to life with parole automatically, or as the result of judicial
decision for crimes other than international homicide, violated the 8

amendment ban on “cruel and unusual” punishment in the case of
Graham Vs. Florida
8. Conclusion:
Position is quite clear that the imprisonment for life means
imprisonment till the end of the life in the prison. Life imprisonment is
not equivalent to imprisonment for 14 years or for 20 years.
Imprisonment and Imprisonment for life are two separate categories of
punishment prescribed by law. Imprisonment for life is always with
rigorous imprisonment. Article 72 of the Indian Constitution confers on
the president powers to grant pardons and to suspend, remit or
commute sentences in certain circumstances. Jeremy Bentham and
J.smill’s writings for due punishments must be just, adequate, fair,
reasonable and proportion to the crime to achieve the goal and should
never be excessive.
This is also a problem in Indian Socio Legal system. Life
imprisonment is enough for the deterrence as well as for mental and
moral metamorphosis of a human being.
“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more
useful than a life spent by doing nothing.”
---George Bernard Shaw.

10.2009 (08 – 7412)

Rights to life imprisonment

1. Introduction
2. Meaning, Definition and History of life
3. Types of life imprisonment
4. International Convention on life imprisonment
5. National Convention of life imprisonment
6. Case Law
7. Conclusion
8. Reference

Project on Human Rights

Right to Life Imprisonment

Name: A.Indumathi
Class: 3
year, ‘A’ section
Roll No: H12018
Date of Submission: 11/08/2014

The origin of criminal jurisprudence in India can be traced back to
3102 BC from the time of manu. There was no criminal law in
uncivilized society. Every man was liable to be attacked in his person or
property at any time by any one. The person attacked either
succumbed or overpowered his opponent."A tooth for tooth, an eye for
eye, life for life" was the forerunner of criminal justice. With the
advancement of civilization, the aggrieved person agreed to accept
compensation, instead of killing of adversary. In western jurisprudence
the real notion of crime percolated from the Roman law. In modern
times, concept of criminal law is revolutionzed. The different types of
punishment described by law in India. The Indian penal code, the code
of criminal procedure and decision of high courts and Supreme court of
India are reviewed to make it more authenticated. The criminal
procedure act 2014 would if the act came into to force, be
unconstitution. This is because they would empower the judge to
impose life imprisonment without the prospect of parole, probation or
remission of sentence, thus violating the individual's constitutional right
to freedom from cruel and in human or degrading treatment or