Trial court can’t order accused to undergo life term beyond 14 years without chance for remission

The Delhi High Court has said the trial court cannot order an accused to undergo life imprisonment for a certain number of years beyond 14 years without being considered for remission.
In the matter of Govind v. State (Crl. A. 81/2015), judgment passed by Divisional Bench of Delhi High Court  on April 02, 2018, has modified the life term punishment award of a murder convict sentenced by the trial court to undergo 25 years in custody without being considered for remission




The challenge before High Court whether convict sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for life, with the further condition that he would spend at least 25 years in actual custody and ‘shall not be considered for grant of remission till he served the term. And also a fine for a sum of Rs. 2 lakhs; and in default of payment of fine to undergo simple imprisonment for a further period of six months.’




The High Court modified the Trial Court sentence of the Appellant by imprisoning him for life for each of the counts under Section 302 IPC with the fine of Rs. 5,000 on each account, and upon failure to pay fine to undergo a simple imprisonment for three months.

Reiterating the rules laid down by Supreme Court through various precedents where the Supreme Court has repeatedly stressed that the conviction of imprisonment for life is itself a severe punishment and it should not be combined with a heavy fine.  Referring to the decision of the Supreme Court in Palaniappa Gounder v. State of Tamil Nadu (1977) 2 SCC 634, where Supreme Court observed that imposing and adding a sentence of fine with life imprisonment or death, hardly serve any social purpose.

While considering the trial court judgment where the convict was awarded a 25 year of imprisonment without consideration for remission. The High Court relied on Union of India v. V. Sriharan (2016) 7 SCC 1, where Supreme Court held that the trial Court cannot possibly order that the accused will undergo life imprisonment for a certain number of years beyond 14 years without being considered for remission