‘Flaws in life imprisonment laws’-need review says CJSC

Current interpretation of life imprisonment law is flawed and expressed intent to reexamine it at an ‘appropriate time’.

During hearing of a review petition of a murder case, Chief Justice (CJ), Supreme Court (SC), Asif Saeed Khosa said that span of life imprisonment was limited to 25 years when it was meant to last a lifetime.

He was of the view that there was need to review law.

This is not first time that judiciary has made such observations. In 2004, a five-member bench as many as 62 appeals that urged SC to reinstate death penalty for convicts whose capital punishments were commuted into life imprisonment leading to their release on basis of remission in their imprisonment periods.

He said, “We will interpret law correctly at an appropriate time. Once it happens, convicts will ask for a death sentence instead of life imprisonment”.

“Once it happens, we’ll see who commits murder.”

Section 57 of Pakistan Penal Code, Fractions of terms of punishment, says: “In calculating fractions of terms of punishment, imprisonment for life shall be reckoned as equivalent to imprisonment for twenty-five years.”

SC however, had observed in 2004 that provisions of aforementioned section, which reckon 25-year imprisonment as transportation for life, only stipulate calculation of punishment term which is necessary because certain offences are a fraction of term of imprisonment prescribed for other offences.

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