Soumya Rape and Murder Case: SC to Hear Curative Petition on Thursday

New Delhi: A six-member bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice of India J S Khehar, will on Thursday hear the curative petition filed by the Government of Kerala in the Soumya rape and murder case.

In September 2015, the apex court had acquitted accused Govindachami alias Govindaswamy of the murder charges, but had upheld his conviction under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code for rape and other offences.

Setting aside the death penalty awarded to Govindaswamy under Section 302 of the IPC by the High Court of Kerala, Justices Ranjan Gogoi, U.U Lalit and Prafulla C. Pant had upheld life imprisonment to the accused under Section 376 of IPC.

Now on Thursday a bench comprising of CJI Khehar, Justice Jasti Chelameshwar, Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Prafulla C Pant and Justice UU Lalit will hear the curative petition filed against the court’s 2015 verdict.

Mother of the victim and the Government of Kerala had earlier filed a review petition, but that was refused by the bench of Justices Prafulla C Pant, Ranjan Gogoi and U.U Lalit in November, 2016.

The incident took place on February 1, 2011 when the victim, Soumya MG, was travelling in a passenger train from Kochi to Shoranur. The accused trespassed into the ladies compartment and tried to rape and rob the victim. Trying to resist, the victim fell from the train. The accused raped the victim in a dazed condition. Later, Soumya succumbed to the injuries in a hospital.

The trial court had awarded death penalty to the accused, stating that he was a “menace to the society” and was “incapable of rehabilitation,” and held the case to be within the parameters of the “rarest of the rare” doctrine.

Even the High Court of Kerala had noted the “outrageous criminality of the accused” and had upheld the conviction ordered by the trial court.

But when the Supreme Court heard an appeal by the accused, the apex court, while ruling out death sentence and upholding life imprisonment, had stated that there needs to be a clarification on whether “Soumya was pushed from the train or she had herself jumped out”, leading to the head injury and the eventual death.