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Soumya murder case: SC sets aside death sentence, gives Govinda Chamy life term

The Apex Court Bench comprising of Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Prafulla C. Pant and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit has acquitted Govindachami of the murder charges, upholding the rape charges against him under IPC section 376.

The Supreme Court of India on Thursday alleviated the death sentence of the convict GovindaSwamy aka Govindachami to life imprisonment, in Kerala’s infamous Soumya rape and murder case. The Apex Court Bench comprising of Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Prafulla C. Pant and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit has acquitted GovindaSwamy of the murder charges, upholding the rape charges against him under IPC section 376.

Background of the case
Soumya

Soumya

According to the prosecution, Soumya MG, a 23-year-old young girl was raped and murdered by the accused while she was travelling back home from Kochi to Shornur in a train. The incident was shocking for the conscience of Kerala. Govindachami trespassed into the ladies compartment of Ernakulam-Shornur passenger train No. 56608 on 1 February 2011, noticing that Soumya was travelling alone. He seized her with an intention to commit rape and theft. She was dropped out of the train due the tussle. The accused also jumped out of the train, took Soumya (who was stunned because of the fall) away to a lonely place and raped her. He took away her mobile worth Rs 1600.

The co-passengers informed railway authorities about this and they found her unconscious near the railway tracks later and was admitted to the Medical College Hospital in Thrissur immediately. She succumbed to the injuries on 6th of February.

Govindaswamy

Govindaswamy

The fast track trial court in Thrissur observed the ‘entire offence  as extremely brutal’ and sentenced the accused to death. The court also observed that the accused is ‘a menace to the society and is incapable of rehabilitation’. The trial court judge K Raveendra Babu classified this case as the rarest of the rare ones.

The High Court of Kerala later upheld the judgement of the trial court when the accused submitted an appeal. A bench comprising of Justice T R Ramachandran Nair and Justice Kemal Pasha observed that ‘to show mercy in the case of such a heinous  crime would be a travesty of justice and the plea for leniency is wholly misplaced’.
However, The Supreme Court while considering the appeal of the accused on last week,expressed a doubt on whether Soumya had been pushed out from the train by the accused, or she jumped down by herself.
“The court is convinced that Soumya was raped. The court also understands that she died due to the head injury. However, it should be clarified whether Soumya was pushed from the train or whether she herself jumped from the train,” observed the court according to a report by ‘LiveLaw’.
BA Aaloor

Defence Council B A Aloor addressing the media

The Defense council Biju Antony Aaloor accused that the evidence submitted by the prosecution were fabricated. He also told that the railway was trying to evade its responsibility of giving a compensation of up to Rs 1 Crore to Soumya’s relatives, by changing the focus of the case. He also told that he will submit an application to transfer Govindaswamy from the Kerala Jail to some other jails in Tamilnadu or Karnataka.
Soumya’s mother termed it a painfully gross miscarriage of justice. Pinarayi Vijayan, The Chief Minister of Kerala said that the verdict is a shock for the conscience of Kerala.
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