Soumya rape-cum-murder case: SC asks ex-judge Markandey Katju to show up and justify bloghttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/soumya-rape-cum-murder-case-sc-asks-ex-judge-markandey-katju-to-show-up-and-justify-blog/

Soumya rape-cum-murder case: SC asks ex-judge Markandey Katju to show up and justify blog

Katju, in his Facebook post on September 16, had criticised the judgment, saying it needed to be reviewed in open court since it was “regrettable that the court has not read Section 300 carefully.

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Justice Markandey Katju is known for his forthright comments on a lot of affairs. (Source: Express Photo)

The Supreme Court Monday asked its former judge Markandey Katju to show up on November 11 and justify his blog, which had described the court judgment as legally flawed in setting aside the death penalty of the convict in Kerala’s Soumya rape-cum-murder case.

A bench led by Justice Ranjan Gogoi converted Katju’s blog into a suo motu review petition and said: “We issue notice to Justice Markandey Katju, former judge of this Court and request him to appear in Court inperson and participate in the proceedings on 11th November, 2016 at 2.00 p.m. as to whether the judgment and order dated 15th September, 2016 passed by this bench suffers from any fundamental flaw so as to require exercise of the review jurisdiction.”

Katju, in his Facebook post on September 16, had criticised the judgment, saying it needed to be reviewed in open court since it was “regrettable that the court has not read Section 300 carefully.” Section 300 of the IPC defines murder.

The bench said: “Such a view coming from a retired judge of this court needs to be treated with greatest of respect and consideration. We, therefore, reproduce herein below the blog published by Justice Katju in Facebook and convert the same into a suo motu review petition.”

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It was adjudicating a batch of review petitions filed by the Kerala government and others against its September 15 verdict. The court had on September 15 sentenced Govindachamy to life imprisonment after setting aside the death penalty awarded to him in a 2011 case, in which a 23-year-old woman died after being sexually assaulted in Kerala. The bench had said it has not been proved that Govindachamy threw the victim, Soumya, out of the moving train or inflicted fatal injuries during the sexual assault that led to her death.

The court upheld the rape charge against Govindachamy but exonerated him of the murder charge, pointing out there were witnesses who testified that the victim had tried to escape by jumping off the moving train.

Further, the circumstantial evidence was not strong enough to say that Govindachamy had intention or knowledge that Soumya could suffer fatal injuries to specific body parts during the assault, the bench said.

The apex court, however, upheld the life term given to Govindachamy for rape, saying it was committed in a “most brutal and grotesque manner which would justify the imposition of life sentence as awarded by the learned trial court and confirmed by the (Kerala) High Court”.

The Kerala High Court had upheld the death sentence awarded to Govindachamy by a Thrissur fast-track court in January 2014.

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