The Supreme Court observed that a court cannot stipulate that other sentences would begin after expiration of life sentence awarded to convict.
In a case, the Trial court had convicted the accused Imran Jalal under sections 121 (Waging, or attempting to wage war, or abetting waging of war, against the Government of India), 121A (Conspiracy to commit offences punishable by section 121), 122 (Collecting arms, etc., with intention of waging war) of the Indian Penal Code, Section 5(b) of Explosive Substances Act, Sections 20, 23(1) of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, and Sections 25(1A), 26(2) of Arms Act.
The sentence of imprisonment for the offence punishable under section 5(b) of Explosive Substances Act, 1908, which is the rigorous imprisonment for 10(ten) years, shall commence at the expiration of other sentences of imprisonments (life imprisonment for IPC offences and other sentences under other provisions), the Trial Court directed.
The High Court of Karnataka upheld the conviction and sentence awarded to the accused.
Before the Apex Court the accused-appellant contended that this direction[that the sentence of imprisonment for 10 years would commence at the expiration of other sentences of imprisonment] runs counter to the decision of the Constitution Bench in Muthuramalingam v. State
In Muthuramalingam, it was observed thus: The court can, therefore, legitimately direct that the prisoner shall first undergo the term sentence before the commencement of his life sentence.
Such a direction shall be perfectly legitimate and in tune with Section 31 CrPC.
The converse however may not be true for if the court directs the life sentence to start first it would necessarily imply that the term sentence would run concurrently.
That is because once the prisoner spends his life in jail, there is no question of his undergoing any further sentence.