The Supreme Court has summoned former Supreme Court judge, Justice Markandey Katju, to explain how the apex court had "erred" by commuting the death penalty for the man convicted in the 2011 Soumya rape and murder case.
"He is a respected gentleman. We request him to come in person and debate his Facebook post criticising the judgment. Let him come to the court and let's debate over the fundamental flaws in our verdict," said a three-judge bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi, P.C. Pant and U.U. Lalit.
"Such a view coming from a retired judge of this Court needs to be treated with greatest of respect and consideration. Office to register a suo motu review petition," the judges said, while summoning Katju to appear before the Supreme Court on November 11.
In his Facebook post on September 15, Katju wrote: "I submit that the Supreme Court has erred in law in not holding the accused guilty of murder, and its judgment needs to be reviewed to this extent."
Soumya, an employee of shopping mall in Kochi, was attacked Govindachamy in a coach of a passenger train in February, 2011. After throwing the 23-year-old off the moving train, he jumped after his victim and raped her. Five days after the brutal attack, Soumya succumbed to her injuries at a government hospital in Thrissur.
While the Kerala High Court had upheld the death sentence awarded by the trial court to Govindachamy, a serial offender, the Supreme Court only convicted him for rape, not for murder, and sentenced him to 14 years in prison.
"I have now read the judgment of the Supreme Court in the Soumya case (Govindachamy vs. State of Kerala).. I have found it incorrect so far as it finds Govindachamy not guilty of murder but only guilty of rape.. Let me give my reasons," Katju wrote.
The Supreme Court is currently hearing review petitions filed by the Kerala government and Souyma's mother.
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