In an unusual move, the Supreme Court on Monday decided to summon former judge Markandey Katju who criticised its verdict in the Soumya murder case. In a judgement on 15 September the Apex Court had cancelled the death penalty awarded to Govindachami in the case. 


Katju had sharply criticised the judgement in a Facebook post, calling for a review. Taking the views of the former judge seriously, the court issued a notice to Katju urging him to appear before the court in person and give an explanation about the comment. 

 

 The court took Suo Motu cognizance of the Facebook post calling the apex court verdict as "grievously erred by law." The court posted the review petitions filed by Kerala and mother of Soumya for 18 November. A final decision would be taken after hearing the explanation of Katju. 


On 15 September, the court had quashed the death penalty of Govindachami stating that the prosecution failed to prove beyond doubt that the convict killed Soumya. There is no question that the convict raped the victim, but the prosecution failed to prove that Govindachami killed her.  

 

Reacting to the judgement, Katju said that the judgement must be reviewed in an open court and commented that Supreme Court overlooked murder explained under Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code. Murder consists of "four parts and only first part require an intention to kill. Establishing any of the other three parts amounts to murder even if there is no intention to kill" Katju pointed out in his Facebook post. 

 

 

 Soumya, 23, was found in an unconscious state in the bushes near the railway track in Shornur on 1 February 2011. She was brutally raped and had suffered grave injuries. The police arrested Govindachamy, a beggar, on 3 February in connection with the case. The victim succumbed to her injuries on 6 February. 

 

The trial court awarded death sentence to the accused and Kerala High Court upheld the decision. However, the accused approached Supreme Court seeking to cancellation of his capital punishment following which court reduced the punishment to life imprisonment.