Soumya Case: I Will Advise The Bench To Restore The Death Penalty On Govindachamy: Justice Katju

Soumya Case: I Will Advise The Bench To Restore The Death Penalty On Govindachamy: Justice Katju

Former Supreme Court judge, Justice Markandey Katju will be appearing in the Supreme court at 2 pm today before the bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi to participate in the proceedings of the Soumya case. The bench is hearing a review petition filed by Soumya’s mother against the judgement of the apex court acquitting Govindaswamy of murder charges.

In an order on October 17, the apex court had requested Justice Katju to appear in person after Katju had said in a facebook post that the court had made a mistake in the Soumya case by acquitting Govindaswamy. The order said-

“We issue notice to Justice Markandey Katju, former judge of this Court and request him to appear in Court in-person and participate in the proceedings on 11th November,2016 at 2.00 p.m. as to whether the judgment and order dated 15th September, 2016 passed by this Bench in Criminal Appeal No.1584-1585 of 2014 suffers from any fundamental flaw so as to require exercise of the review jurisdiction.”

In yesterday’s facebook post Justice Katju said- “I have already expressed my view that the judgement of the Supreme Court dropping the murder charge against the accused Govindachamy, and setting aside his death penalty was a grave error.

Judges too are humans and sometimes commit mistakes. Lord Denning, the celebrated British judge once said - The judge has not been born who has never committed a mistake. “

Katju then went on to illustrate this with an example from his own life as a judge. He said he made mistakes as a judge which he later realized. “In the case of Gian Singh vs. State of Punjab, I was presiding over a bench including Justice Gyansudha Mishra. One of the counsels pursuaded me to accept his submission, but the counsel for the other side said that I had taken a contrary view in two earlier cases in the Supreme Court. On reading those two decisions I realized I had made a mistake in those two decisions. Hence I referred the matter to a larger bench of the Supreme Court.”

Justice Katju then goes on to state the entire order that he had dictated admitting his mistake and referring the matter to a larger bench. He says that “a judge should always be open to correct his mistakes.”

In conclusion Justice Katju said- “I will advise the bench to restore the death penalty on Govindachamy holding him guilty of murder.”

This article has been made possible because of financial support from Independent and Public-Spirited Media Foundation.