The mother of deceased Soumya has filed a review petition in the Supreme Court against the judgment acquitting Govindachami of murder charges.
Last week, a three-judge Bench comprising Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Prafulla C. Pant and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit had set aside the death penalty awarded for the offence of murder (S.302), but sentenced him to life imprisonment for rape (s.376 IPC).
The Bench had altered the conviction and sentence awarded to accused Govindachami by the trial court and the high court under Section 302 IPC to one under 325 IPC. Read Live Law report and judgment here.
In her petition, Soumya’s mother Sumathy said the state failed to present a complete picture of the criminal antecedents of Govindachami. She also contended that it does not matter whether Soumya “fell off” the running train or “jumped off”.
She also stated that the Supreme Court should have first considered Govindachami’s presence in the train, his intention to cause her harm and the brutal assault in the train, which culminated in her rape and death.
The judgment acquitting Govindachami of murder charges had evoked strong criticism from the public and also from legal parlance.
Former Supreme Court judge Justice Markandey Katju had opined that the Supreme Court must review the judgment.
Ön a different note yet criticising the judgment, Justice V. Ramkumar said: “In my humble view, from the facts and circumstances of the case as highlighted in the judgment itself, the dislodgment of the conviction entered and sentence passed under Section 302 IPC does not appear to be legally sustainable. Of course, it is a debatable point whether the death sentence could be sustained or not having regard to the guidelines judicially settled by the Supreme Court of India. This is one reason which should discourage a review petition, especially when the sentence of life imprisonment stands confirmed by the apex court and the mode of serving the sentence has been directed to be concurrent.”
Earlier this week, Kerala Law Minister AK Balan had said the state government would file a review petition against the judgment. He added that Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi would appear for the state government and request for an open court hearing in the case.
Also read Soumya Murder Case and the Law of Homicide and Causation by Adv. John S. Ralph and The Soumya Murder Case: The Supreme Court and the Causation Quagmire by Dr. Mrinal Satish.