is a new penalty clause imposed by the Indian Penal Code
(IPC) of 1860. It was introduced through an amendment in 1955. Life imprisonment
applies to serious crimes, and in some cases, the death penalty is the only
mandatory sentence under the criminal law. Compared with legal alternatives to
the death penalty, life imprisonment is generally considered more humane and
less harsh. There exists many misconceptions regarding life imprisonment in the
Some people think that life imprisonment means 14 or 20 years in
prison. The truth is Life imprisonment means staying in prison until the
offender dies, that is, until the offender stops breathing. After each court in
the country proves guilty, the court decides to sentence the perpetrator to life
imprisonment or other sentences. The Supreme Court clearly stated in its 2012
ruling that life imprisonment means life imprisonment and nothing more. In fact,
life imprisonment is not 14 years.
In India, there is a misunderstanding
about this. There are many laws. Depending on the offenderís charge, it can be
sentenced to life imprisonment, it is clear the court must punish the guilty
party. But this is a matter for the state government.
The task of the national authorities is to release the accused from life
imprisonment for 14 years, 20 years later or until death. In order to shorten
the duration of prisoners, the competent government must issue a specific order
in accordance with Art. 432 CRPC of the Constitution.
At the same time,
according to Constitution 433-A of the CRPC, the state government has the right
to reduce or suspend prison sentences. Regardless of the punishment, be it a few
months, years, or years of life, it is at the discretion of state governments to
request a reduction. The prisoner is under the supervision of the state
government, which is why he was entrusted to the state government. In this case,
he will be heard if the state government requests a reduction in the sentence.
It should be noted that life imprisonment can be 16 years, 30 years or forever,
but not less than 14 years. The state government must ensure that criminals who
have been sentenced to life imprisonment are not released before the shortest
14-year imprisonment period expires. After 14 years, the state government can
release the prisoner at any time based on the prisonerís behaviour, illness,
family problems or other reasons. The idea that life imprisonment being thought
as 14 year imprisonment is wrong. The penalty is not 14 years but rather until
the prisoner breathes his last breath. In short, life imprisonment applies to
the entire life.
It appears to us there is a misconception that a prisoner serving a life
sentence has an indefeasible right to be released on completion of either
fourteen years or twenty years imprisonment. 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 appropriate
government, a bench of Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and Madan B. Lokur said.
Purpose of Life Imprisonment
Life imprisonment has four purposes:
If a person commits a crime, they will be punished by the court and
then imprisoned, which deprives them of their freedom and separates them from
society. Punishment can turn a person into a good person, restore basic freedom
and the freedom to live with relatives, and sometimes provide them with work to
stop crime. Punishment is very important for the criminals.
Deterrence is another way to punish criminals so that they do not
become repeat offenders, because punishment can teach the criminal's values
and enable him to transform himself and transform him into a law-abiding
If someone commits a serious crime such as murder or rape, they will
face life imprisonment imposed by the judge. This is the only reason we can
protect the public from harm
Rehabilitation means that the prisoner is ready to accept the
crime he committed and take some necessary steps to change himself. In this
case, the government decides to give him the opportunity to change his prison
A Few Crimes punishable with life imprisonment
||Waging, abetting war against the government
||Life imprisonment and death sentence.
||Abetment of mutiny or if mutiny is committed
in consequence of.
||Death and life sentence for 10 years or fine
||False evidence shown in the court during the
||Death sentence, life imprisonment and fine
can be charged as decided by the court.
||Death sentence, life imprisonment.
|303, 364A, 396
||Dacoity in murder or more number of murders
are caused, kidnapping or abduction
||Death sentence or life imprisonment or fine.
ARGUMENTS FOR AND AGAINST LIFE IMPRISONMENT
Heinous crimes such as rape or murder have a very serious impact on the lives of
the victims or their families and lead to the destruction of many lives.
Therefore, the perpetrators are made to atone for their crimes with life
imprisonment. The death penalty is just a legal murder, a death for a death is
unjust. Life imprisonment gives criminals the opportunity to conduct
introspection and be aware of their mistakes and make them accept what they have
Many prisoners are given shifts and are allowed to live and work in a certain
society so that they can earn some money for their own lives and to change the
lives of their own families. Prisoners have the opportunity to change their
lives or lead a happy life. Citizens of a society are able to feel safer,
because they know that truly dangerous criminals are no longer allowed to walk
A life sentence removes any sort of doubt that the person will ever be able to
commit a crime and increases the peace of mind afforded to the average citizen.
Penalties have been effectively increased. Life imprisonment is the top of the
punishment pyramid alongside the death penalty, allowing the government to
increase all its penalties accordingly. When a person steals, they know that the
punishment they get is indeed corresponding to their crime.
Those who commit murder or rape know that they are risking their eternal
freedom, which can be a powerful deterrent. The penalty remains the same. When
life imprisonment is a punishment, there is no error, and ignorance cannot be
used as an excuse. When there is an established punishment system that will not
change for a particular person, societyís will plays a greater role.
Prison do not rehabilitate. In many cases, a person forced to spend his life in
prison will not realize the consequences of his actions. Furthermore meeting
with other professional criminals may lead to worsening of the criminalís
internal character and erode at his better qualities.
This would serve as a greater burden on the taxpayers. The more criminals are
imprisoned, the higher the costs the taxpayer incurs. Providing food and
accommodation during the life of a criminal is expensive, as are the necessary
medical services that he may need. While some of the better off taxpayers may be
happy to pay the bill because they gain a sense of security, this would serve as
a burden on the other taxpayers.
More prisons are needed. As the number of criminals sentenced to life
imprisonment increases, not only must taxpayers pay for food and lodging, they
must also spend huge amounts of money on the construction of the said prisons.
As the number of criminals increase on a steady rate, the need for more and more
prison arises, the payment for these prisons will come out of the pockets of the
The death penalty or the capital punishment can be defined as the punishment
applied to criminals who commit serious crimes. According to the death penalty,
the life of the criminal ends by hanging or similar methods. Some countries
impose the death penalty on crimes considered barbaric, while other countries
and their citizens stand in solidarity to regard the death penalty as an
outright violation of an individualís human rights, and does not serve as a
Due to these reasons many countries choose to give life imprisonment to
criminals who commit serious crimes, as a way to safeguard the accused personís
life and safeguard his basic human rights.
Not only this, but the United Nations along with various other welfare
organizations , do not support capital punishment because it does not serve the
purpose of punishing the criminal and rather provides him within an easy escape
from all of his wrong doings through the simple as well as easy punishment of