New Delhi: Supreme Court sets aside the death penalty, reduces death penalty to life sentence.
The Supreme Court acquitted Govindachami of murder charges while upholding the conviction under Section 376 IPC for rape.
Partly allowing the appeal preferred by the accused Govindachami, the Apex court bench comprising of Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Prafulla C Pant and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit has set aside the death penalty and has sentenced him to rigorous imprisonment for seven years.
The court had reserved its judgment in the case on September 8, with Gogoi J observing that though the offence of rape stood proved, the murder charge was based largely on circumstantial evidence.
The prosecution case was that Govindachamy attacked Soumya and pushed her out of the slow-moving train. He then jumped off the train, carried the injured woman to a wooded area near the track and raped her. She later succumbed to her injuries.
Approving the death penalty awarded by the lower court, the Kerala high court had classified the rape and murder “among the rarest of rare cases in which the lesser alternative is unquestionably foreclosed.”
However, the Supreme Court remarked that the charge of murder seems to prima facie rest on circumstantial evidence.