Soumya murder case

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Soumya murder case

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Dhananjay Mahapatra, No review of Soumya sentence: SC, Nov 12 2016 : The Times of India

The outcry over awarding life sentence to Soumya case convict Govindachamy and attempts by the Kerala government, Soumya's mother and ex-judge Markandey Katju to get the sentence enhanced to death penalty failed to convince the Supreme Court to review its September 15 decision.

Govindachamy allegedly pushed Soumya off a moving train after sexually assaulting her. But the SC had taken note of oral testimony of witnesses who said that she had jumped off the train to escape the rapist. It had acquitted Govindachamy of murder charge while convicting him of rape and sentenced him to life imprisonment. The 23-year-old Soumya had boarded the ErnakulamShoranur passenger train on February 1, 2011, around 5.30pm at Ernakulam Town railway station to go to her home in Shoranur for her betrothal ceremony.

Taking suo motu notice of Justice Katju's blog criticising the judgment and the judges who delivered it for not taking note of evidence and letting Govindachamy off leniently with life sentence, the SC had on October 17 requested the ex-judge to assist the court while hearing the review petitions filed by Kerala government and Soumya's mother.

Justice Katju stressed that the SC should have assumed, in the absence of concrete proof about Govindachamy pushing Soumya out of the train, that the convict was responsible for the tragedy . “The accused sexually assaulted the girl and banged her head repeatedly , causing serious injuries to the head and brain. In that condition, even if she jumped out of a moving train, the act of the deceased should be taken as a consequence of the threat posed by the accused. So he should face death penalty for murder,“ Justice Katju said.

The bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi, P C Pant and U U Lalit repeatedly asked him how a court of law could assume a story on behalf of the prosecution by creating evidence which was non-existent.

“We cannot think on our own and conjure up a story which is not even stated in the case diary by the prosecution,“ said Justice Lalit. Justice Katju asked, “Does it mean you will swallow whatever is told to you? The bench erred gravely in not discarding that part of the evidence. Judges of the Supreme Court err. I have erred gravely.But I always made an attempt to correct it. You should also correct your judgment.“

When the court asked him to prove his point in reference to provisions of Indian Evidence Act, Justice Katju snapped, “Let us show some common sense. Even if Soumya jumped out and died of the injuries, it is common sense that she was attempting to escape the threat posed by Govindachamy . This case must be decided on the basis of common sense.“

The bench did not agree and dismissed the three review petitions.

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