Update December 1, 2020

Dhaka 7-47 am, 21-September, 2021

Life imprisonment means 30 years in jail: Supreme Court

Online Desk

The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court (SC) today said the tenure of life imprisonment will be 30 years in jail unless any court or tribunal sentences the accused to imprisonment till natural death. In that case, the convict will have to suffer behind bars till his or her natural death.

“Disposed of by majority decision,” said the judgement passed by a seven-member apex court virtual bench headed by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain.

The Appellate Division came up with the judgement after holding a hearing on a plea to review its verdict regarding the tenure of a convict’s life term imprisonment.

Attorney General AM Amin Uddin and Deputy Attorney General Biswajit Debnath attended the virtual hearing for the state, while senior lawyer Khandaker Mahbub Hossain and advocate Shishir Munir took part in the hearing for the petitioner.

The judgement said that life imprisonment was deemed to be equivalent to 30 years if sections 45 and 53 were considered together along with sections 55 and 57 of the Penal Code and 35A of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

But if any court, tribunal or International Crimes Tribunal sentences any convict to imprisonment till natural death, he or she will not be entitled to this short tenure of 30 years, it added.

The Appellate Division earlier heard expert opinions from four amicus curiae — senior lawyers AF Hasan Ariff, Rokanuddin Mahmud, Abdur Rezak Khan and incumbent Attorney General AM Amin Uddin — on the issue.

A trial court on October 15, 2003, sentenced Ataur Mridha and Anwar Hossain to death for murdering one Jaman in Savar in 2001. The convicts later filed appeals against their conviction with the High Court and the court on October 30, 2007, upheld the lower court judgement against them.

The convicts later appealed against the High Court judgement and the Appellate Division on February 14, 2017, commuted their death sentence to life imprisonment. The court during the judgement came up with seven observations, including life imprisonment means imprisonment till death.

Convict Ataur Mridha had filed the plea to review the judgement and the apex court on July 11, 2019, kept the matter as CAV (curia advisari vult, a Latin legal term meaning the verdict will be delivered any day).

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