Can a Facebook post or blog be treated as a petition? The Supreme Court thinks so. Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Prafulla Pant and UU Lalit on Monday challenged former SC Judge Markandey Katju and asked him to appear in court to advance his arguments in the infamous Soumya murder case.
In September this year, the SC had given life imprisonment to Govindachamy for raping 23-year-old Soumya in January 2011. The Court however reduced the murder charge to one of assault.
Hours after the Supreme Court verdict on Soumya case, Justice Katju said that the apex court had erred in not holding Govindachamy guilty of murder. The SC took suo moto judicial notice of the blog and asked Katju to debate in court who was right- him or the court.
Calling the judgment, a gross error, Katju had pointed out that the evidence for acquitting Govindachamy of murder was "inadmissible." The Bench observed that they wanted Katju to come debate in open court on why he believed the judgment was flawed. The court added that they had the greatest respect for Justice Katju.
Both the Kerala government and Soumyaâ€™s mother had filed review petitions in the case, which the Supreme Court will take up on November 11 during the next hearing of the case.
Observing that the prosecution had failed to prove the charge of murder, the court acquitted Govindachamy of the offense of murder and charged him under section 325. Katju however had written that the judgment was based on a hearsay evidence.
Simple explainer: Soumya case: Why the SC was unconvinced that Govindachamy murdered her
â€śIn paragraph 15 of its judgment the Court observed that P.W. 4 and P.W. 40, who were travelling on a coach adjacent to the ladies compartment in which Soumya was travelling alone, said that they were told by a middle aged person in their compartment that Soumya had herself jumped off the train. But the evidence of P.W. 4 and 40 was hearsay, which is inadmissible in evidence. How could the Supreme Court have relied on it? This is a gross error in the judgment,â€ť he wrote on Facebook.
He said that the Supreme Court had ignored the Third part of Section 300 that states,
â€śTt is a case of murder (for which capital punishment can be imposed under section 302) even if there was no intention to kill, if the accused inflicts a wound sufficient to cause the death of a person in the ordinary course of nature,â€ť he said.
Elaborating on this, he wrote that the court had totally ignored Illustration (c) of section 300 that holds the accused guilty of murder although he may not have intended to cause death.
Katju added that a head injury was grave enough to cause the death of a person.
"With respect to the Supreme Court it has totally ignored the Third part of section 300, and Illustration (c). (c) A intentionally gives Z a sword-cut or club-wound sufficient to cause the death of a man in the ordinary course of nature. Z dies in consequence. Here, A is guilty of murder, although he may not have intended to cause Zâ€™s death. The head is a vital part of the body of a human, and repeated banging it against a wall is sufficient in the ordinary cause to cause death," he wrote.