Life term means jail until death

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Life imprisonment means jail sentence until natural death, Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha said yesterday.

Under Section 57 of the Penal Code, life sentence refers to 30 years’ prison term.

The CJ made the observation while delivering the verdict on the appeals of two convicts, who were sentenced to death by a lower court in a case filed over a 2001 murder in Savar.

The High Court later upheld the punishment of the two — Ataur and Anwar.

Yesterday, a four-member Appellate Division bench headed by Justice Sinha commuted their  death sentence to life term, but observed it meant imprisonment until natural death.

The apex court’s observation would be applicable to all cases from now on, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam told The Daily Star.

Defence lawyer advocate Khandker Mahbub Hossain argued before the court that the Penal Code made it clear that life term stood for 30 years’ jail sentence.

The CJ then said the full verdict would offer an explanation to this effect, he told this paper.

During his visit to Kashimpur Jail in Gazipur in June last year, the chief justice had said life sentence meant imprisonment till death, Mahbub added.

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