In a challenge to existing norms, the Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to its former judge, Justice Markandey Katju in relation to his Facebook post on the subject of Soumya rape case of 2011.
However, The Times of India reported that on Monday evening Katju told that he would not appear in the court as “there is a specific prohibition under Article 124(7) of the Constitution against former judges doing so”. He said it was “not proper for Supreme Court to say something like that”.
The Supreme Court on Monday had asked the officer to register the Facebook post by Katju as a suo motu review petition of its September 15 verdict, the bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Prafulla C. Pant and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit noted the post, which said, “Supreme Court has grievously erred in law by not holding Govindaswamy guilty of murder”.
“Such a view coming from a retired judge of this court needs to be treated with greatest of respect and consideration. Office to register a suo motu review petition,” the order by the bench said. The Supreme Court bench said Katju is a “respectable gentleman” and court “requests him to come in court and explain the fundamental flaws in our verdict”.
“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 November 11…as to whether the judgment and order dated September 15 passed by this Bench…suffers from any fundamental flaw so as to require exercise of the review jurisdiction,” the bench said.
Reportedly, Katju made the comment to a Kerala TV channel and later put it up in his Facebook post.
In his Facebook post, Katju took a different view on the death sentence of the accused Govindaswamy. He took a critical view of the apex court’s statement which said that the intention to kill Soumya hasn’t been proven, and therefore, accused cannot be held guilty of murder.
He explained the case, pointing out the evidences which court has followed and firstly explained the punishment granted by the court and cited the reasons. He said, “What the c0ourt has overlooked is that Section 300 IPC, which defines murder, has 4 parts, and only the first part requires intention to kill.”
Further on, he explained, “With respect to the Supreme Court, it has totally ignored the third part of section 300, and illustration (c). 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 said the court cannot rely on hearsay evidence.
Justice Katju also said, “The judgment needs to be reviewed in an open court hearing.”
The Supreme Court had set aside the death sentence of Govindaswamy accused of rape and murder of a 23-year-old Soumya in 2011, and had awarded him life imprisonment for rape contending that the prosecution couldn’t prove the murder charges.
Govindaswamy had been convicted and sentenced to death by a trial court, and the sentence was confirmed by the Kerala High Court.