Section 31 of The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973

My Lord, Can a Court direct a term sentence and a life sentence to run consecutively?

Yes.

The power of the Court to direct the order in which sentences will run is unquestionable in view of the language employed in Section 31 of The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. 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. 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… a life sentence requires the prisoner to spend the rest of his life in prison.”

Hon’ble CJI T.S. ThakurMuthuramalingam v. State, [Criminal Appeal No. 429 of 2015].

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