definition of "Life Imprisonment"
As per the recent amendments in the sections related to rape in the IPC, it is now said that the maximum punishment can be imprisonment for life wherein life has been defined as remainder of that person’s natural life. Is this different from imprisonment for life that is used as punishment in other sections of the IPC? If they both mean the same, then why have different terms been used which have the same meaning? What role does this play in calling for judicial activism?
In Gopal Vinayak Godse v. The State of Maharashtra and Ors. [1961 SCR (3) 440] the Supreme Court explained the meaning of a sentence of life imprisonment. It was stated that ‘a sentence of transportation for life or imprisonment for life must prima facie be treated as transportation or imprisonment for the whole of the remaining period of the convicted person's natural life.’ In some cases, the term of imprisonment in case of life imprisonment may be commuted only by the appropriate Government authority without the consent of the person sentenced. Thus there is no difference between imprisonment for life and imprisonment for the remaining period of the convicted person’s natural life other than the terminology.
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