Katju Served With Contempt Notice Over Soumya Rape Case


New Delhi: Supreme court served a contempt notice to Justice Markandey Katju after his Facebook post on how the apex court had “erred in law” by reducing the sentence of 2011 rape and murder convict. Mr Katju appeared in the court on Friday after being asked to explain his views.

The court said said the Mr Katju’s remarks were an assault on the judges and not on judgement. “I don’t bother,” Mr Katju said, following which he was asked to be escorted out.

On October, the Supreme Court said Govindachamy, who was sentenced to death by lower courts, will not hang as there was no evidence that he had murdered Soumya. The convict’s sentence was reduced to 14 years in jail, which caused outrage in Kerala and devastated Soumya’s family.

“I submit that the Supreme Court has erred in law in not holding the accused guilty of murder, and its judgement needs to be reviewed to this extent,” Justice Katju said in his critique on Facebook.

The outspoken former Supreme Court judge has been asked to appear in court on November 11. The same day, the top court will also hear Soumya’s mother and the Kerala government’s request for a review of the judgement.

Soumya was brutally raped and was thrown from a moving train by Govindachamy. She died days after the heinous attack.

On September 15, the court cancelled Govindachamy’s death sentence saying there was no evidence that he had caused Soumya’s death or had intended to kill her. Commenting that there had been a “gross error of judgement”, Justice Katju wrote that the court had relied on hearsay.

He also said by law, a person is guilty “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.”