As the prosecution terribly messed up its argument in the sensational rape and murder of Soumya, 23, the Supreme Court on Thursday cancelled the death penalty given to Govindachami. But the life term awarded to the accused will remain. The Apex Court stated that the prosecution failed to prove the charge of murder against the convict and reduced the punishment to rigorous sentence under section 376 of the IPC.

 

Heart-broken by the verdict, Soumya’s mother Sumathi lamented that she was denied justice. “I’ll go to any extent to get justice,” she said blaming the government and prosecution for failing to do its duty. 

 

Also read: Prosecution fumbles as apex court seeks evidence in Soumya murder case

 

Last week, the Supreme Court had demanded the prosecution to furnish evidence to prove that the murder was committed by Govindachami, the death convict in the case. The government counsel failed to give a convincing reply to the court, exposing holes in the evidence presented by the prosecution in the shocking rape and murder case.

 

Govindachami

Soumya was found in the bushes near the railway track at Shoranur in critical condition on 1 February 2011. Govindachami, 33, a physically challenged beggar, allegedly threw her off the lady’s compartment of the train during a robbery attempt and raped her on the track.

 

The victim succumbed to her injuries on 6 February.  The police arrested Govindachami, a single-handed vagabond on February 3 from Cuddalore.  The incident triggered an outrage and raised serious safety concerns of female passengers in trains.

 

Thrissur Fast Track Court found the accused guilty and awarded capital punishment in October, 2011. The Kerala High Court confirmed the death sentence considering it as one of the rarest of rare cases. Following this, the accused approached Supreme Court requesting to nullify capital punishment.

 

Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee President VM Sudheeran said that it was very unfortunate that criminal in the brutal murder and rape case that shocked the conscience of every Keralite could walk free shortly. "It is a serious lapse from the prosecution," he said. The government should take every possible step to ensure that justice is done in the case, he added. 

 

  • 1 February 2011: Soumya,23, was found seriously injured and unconscious in the thickets near Vallathol Nagar Railway Station in Thrissur.
     
  • She was allegedly thrown out of a speeding train by an unidentified man who brutally raped her by dragging her into the bushes. She had suffered grave head injury after falling onto the tracks. But that didn't stop the criminal from sexually assaulting her.
     
  • 3 February 2011: Police take the physically challenged beggar Govindachamy, 30, of Virudhachalam in Cuddalore, into custody.
     
  • 6 February 2011: Soumya succumbed injuries at Medical College Hospital, Thrissur.
     
  • 31 October, 2011: Thrissur Fast Track Track pronounced the accused guilty under Sections 376 (rape), 302 (murder), 394 read with 397 (causing injury while committing robbery) and 447 (criminal trespass) of the Indian Penal Code.
     
  • 11 November, 2o11:  Thrissur Fast Track Court awarded death sentence to Govindachamy, the lone convict in the case.
     
  • 17 December 2013:  Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Tuesday confirmed the death sentence awarded by the Thrissur Fast Track Court to Govindachami.
     
  • 8 September 2016: Hearing an appeal by the convict, Supreme Court asks prosecution whether it has evidence to prove that the single-handed Govindachami committed the murder. The apex court stated that there was evidence to prove rape, but the prosecution should prove beyond doubt the charge of the crime.  But the prosecution fumbled, inviting criticism from the court. 
     
  • 15 September 2016: Supreme Court nullify capital penalty, reduces the punishment to life incarceration.