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SECTION 55: Imprisonment of Life


Section 55 of the IPC 1860 is a complex and controversial provision. This Section gives the appropriate government discretion to commute a life sentence, but the Courts have held the government must consider a number of factors before doing so. The Section has been the subject of some controversy, but it remains an important part of the Indian criminal justice system.

KEYWORD: complex, controversial, factor, 14 years


Section 55 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 defines the imprisonment of life as “imprisonment for the whole of the offender’s natural life.” This means that a person sentenced to imprisonment of life will remain in prison until they die.

There are two exceptions to this rule first, the appropriate government may commute a life sentence to a sentence of imprisonment of either kind for a duration not exceeding fourteen years. Second, a person sentenced to imprisonment of life may be released on parole.

Once recommendations have been made they cannot be considered a substitute for such a penalty. The High Court was wrong to believe that a person sentenced to life imprisonment had the right to be released after a 20 years sentence including remission.

According to Articles 72 and 161 of the Indian constitution can remit, or commute sentence in certain cases the constitution of India now states that the prison sentence is 14 years, for every crime the guilty is punished according to his crime and the court decides what sentence is infected on the guilty offence such as murder and rape the criminal is in some way sentence to life imprisonment or the death penalty. There will be no life imprisonment or death penalty pardon. this decision was made by the Supreme Court of India in 2012 and the life sentence is not limited. it can be extended up to 25 years criminals cannot request their release from prison or their relatives or friends.

According to 432 and 433 of the criminal procedure code 1973 mention the period of life imprisonment. This is a very serious error as life imprisonment is not limited to 14 years there are several reasons for a 14-year prison sentence. Life imprisonment depends on the prisoner’s actions. The life sentence can be reduced. If the prison proves his worth in prison. The death penalty can also be awarded in the event of an act and reaction of the prison observed in prison. Otherwise, life in prison will be held if you are not doing well in prison. The convict can be released, he must first meet some of the conditions of detention


i. If someone is mistakenly caught as a criminal they can be released

ii. If a person change and shows the police that they are not going to commit another crime they can be released

iii. If a woman serving a life sentence becomes pregnant or has another reproduction problem she can be released

iv. No prisoner is released before the age of 14 years


i. According to Section 55 of the Indian penal code, 1860 says life imprisonment is not exceeding 14 years

ii. The constitution of India says life imprisonment can go to the end of life

iii. Section 432 and 433 of the criminal procedure 1973 says that imprisonment of life depends on prisoner’s behaviour if a prisoner’s behaviour is good so they can be released after 14 years of imprisonment


As we see above there is much complexity in a sentence of life imprisonment. The constitution of India says life imprisonment is for life similarly, the Indian penal code says that there should be life imprisonment for at least 14 years. Similarly, the criminal procedure code says that the behaviour of a prisoner can reduce the sentence of life imprisonment that’s why these topics were controversial because different law code has been given different details.

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