Former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju on Friday said the apex court had "grievously erred by law" in the Soumya rape and murder case in which the death sentence of the accused Govindacahamy was commuted.
In a Facebook post, he said, "The Supreme Court has grievously erred by law by not holding Govindachamy guilty of murder”.
The Supreme Court had on Thursday quashed Govindachamy's death penalty, but upheld life imprisonment for raping 23-year-old Soumya on February 1, 2011. The death penalty had been imposed by a fast track court in Thrissur and was later upheld by the Kerala High Court.
The apex court had found that there was no intention on the part of the accused to kill the victim. It held that since it has not been proved that the accused had intention to kill, he cannot be held guilty of murder.
"What the court has overlooked is that Section 300 IPC, which defines murder, has four parts and only the first part requires intention to kill," Katju said.
"If any of the other 3 parts are established, it will be murder even if there was no inention to kill," the former Press Council chairman stated.
Katju said it was "regrettable" that the court has not read Section 300 carefully. "The judgement needs to be reviewed in an open court hearing," he added.