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Markandey Katju to appear in Supreme Court to explain his Facebook post on Soumya rape case

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 7 February 2017, 1:21 IST

Former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju has been summoned to appear before the apex court on 11 November to elaborate on the "fundamental flaws" he pointed out in the 2011 Soumya rape case.

In a Facebook post, Katju alleged that there were flaws in the apex court's judgement on the Soumya rape case and that the accused Govindachamy, who was acquitted of murder charge in the case, should have been given death penalty.

On 11 November, he wrote another Facebook post saying, "I was awake half the night preparing Soumya's case in which I will be appearing at 2 pm today in the Supreme Court. On going through the papers I am even more convinced that the Supreme Court made a grave error in holding the accused Govindachamy not guilty of murder and setting aside the death penalty. I will give my reasons in Court."

In an unprecedented order, the apex court on 17 October asked Katju to appear and debate his Facebook post criticising the judgment by which the accused had escaped gallows in the Soumya rape case in which he was acquitted of murder charge.

"He (justice Katju) is a respected gentleman. We request him to come in person and debate his Facebook post criticsing the judgment. Let him come to the court and let's debate over the fundamental flaws in our verdict," a bench of justices Ranjan Gogoi and UU Lalit had said and issued a notice to Justice Katju.

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In his Facebook post, justice Katju had criticised the apex court saying it had grievously erred by "not holding" the convict, Govindachamy, "guilty of murder" in the case. The bench had also kept the review petitions filed by Kerala and Soumya's mother in abeyance saying it would debate with justice Katju on his Facebook post.

"Though arguments have been elaborate and stands concluded, we do not consider it appropriate to express any opinion on the contentions advanced at this stage. This is so because we are of the view that a connected issue which has arisen needs to be resolved in the first instance," the bench had said referring to Katju's blog.

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"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 bench had said in its order.

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"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 11 November...as to whether the judgment and order dated 15 September passed by this Bench... suffers from any fundamental flaw so as to require exercise of the review jurisdiction," the bench had said.

--with PTI inputs

First published: 11 November 2016, 11:15 IST