Soumya murder case: SC dismisses Kerala govt's appeal for death penalty to convict

Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a curative petition filed by Kerala government in the sensational Soumya challenging the convict Govindachamy's acquittal from murder charge

FP Staff April 28, 2017 17:30:09 IST
Soumya murder case: SC dismisses Kerala govt's appeal for death penalty to convict

The Supreme Court, on Friday, dismissed a curative petition filed by the Kerala government in the Soumya rape and murder case challenging the convict Govindachamy's acquittal from the murder charge, ANI reported.

This case had also led to the issuance of contempt notice against former SC judge justice Markandey Katju, who had criticised the verdict, for making some remarks against serving judges in one of his blogs. Later, he tendered an apology, leading to the withdrawal of the contempt proceedings against him.

Soumya murder case SC dismisses Kerala govts appeal for death penalty to convict

Representational image. Reuters

It was earlier reported that a bench, comprising Chief Justice JS Khehar and justices Ranjan Gogoi, PC Pant, UU Lalit, Dipak Misra and J Chelameswar, would consider the matter in the chamber.

Justices Gogoi, Pant and Lalit had on 15 September last year dropped the murder charge against the convict, but had upheld the life term for raping the 23-year-old sales representative in Kerala.

The verdict had left the victim's family in shock. They had dubbed it as "heartbreaking", saying it was "failure" of the state prosecutor to "properly" present the case in court.

In the 22-page verdict, the apex court had discharged Govindachamy under section 302 (murder) of IPC, in which the maximum sentence is capital punishment, saying there was no intention on his part to kill the victim but only to sexually assault her by keeping her in a supine position.

It had upheld the charges under section 376 (punishment for rape) and 394 (voluntarily causing hurt in committing robbery) while altering the conviction for offence of murder to one under Section 325 (punishment for voluntarily causing grievous hurt) of the IPC.

According to the prosecution, the incident took place when Soumya, an employee of a Kochi shopping mall, was travelling in a ladies coach on the Ernakulam-Shoranur passenger train on 1 February, 2011. She was attacked and pushed off from the train by Govindachamy, it had said.

It had also said the man jumped off the train, carried the injured woman to a wooded area near the track at Vallathol Nagar and raped her. She succumbed to injuries at the Government Medical College Hospital, Thrissur, on 6 February that year.

The prosecution had pointed out that Govindachamy had already been convicted in eight cases in his native state.

The fast track court in 2012 awarded death sentence to the accused, considering him to be a habitual offender, and held that the brutal rape was one of the reasons for the victim's death and the nature of the crime was savage and had shocked the society.

The high court had upheld the death sentence two years later, against which he had moved the Supreme Court.

The case also featured Justice Markandey Katju being hauled up for contempt, for making comments on the apex court's decision in a blog post.

With inputs from PTI

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