SC summons Katju over remarks in Soumya case
In an unusual decision, the Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to its former
judge Justice Markandey Katju for his personal appearance for saying that the
apex court "grievously erred" by setting aside the death penalty of the convict
in Kerala's Soumya rape-cum-murder case.
A 3-judge bench presided over by Justice Ranjan Gogoi decided to convert
Justice Katju's blog into a suo motu petition. "We issue notice to Justice
Katju, former judge of this court, and request him to appear in court in person
and participate in the proceedings on 11th November, 2016, at 2.00 pm as to
whether the judgement and order dated 15th September, 2016, passed by this
bench suffers from any fundamental flaw so as to require exercise of the review
jurisdiction," the bench said.
Katju had on September 16 sought an open court review of the judgement, saying
it was "regrettable that the court has not read Section 300 (murder) of the IPC
carefully." "Such a view coming from a retired judge of this court needs to be
treated with greatest of respect and consideration," the bench added.
The court passed its order while hearing review petitions filed by the Kerala
government and victim's mother against its September 15 judgement.
The court had on September 15 sentenced Govindachamy to life imprisonment for
rape. It had set aside the death penalty awarded to him in the 2011 case, in
which a 23-year-old woman died after being sexually assaulted in Kerala.
The bench had said it has not been proved that Govindachamy threw the victim,
Soumya, out of the moving train or inflicted fatal injuries during the sexual
assault that led to her death.
(source: Deccan Herald)
Death row convict Umesh Reddy moves Karnataka High Court
B A Umesh Reddy, serial rapist and now a death row convict on Monday moved the
Karnataka high court seeking for commutation of death sentence imposed on him
citing 'compelling supervening circumstances'.
The counsel for Reddy mentioned about the filing of the petition before a
division bench headed by Chief Justice Subhro Kamal Mukherjee on Monday
morning, requesting for an urgent hearing on the plea. The bench said that it
would be taken up on Tuesday.
In his petition, Reddy has claimed that there is an avoidable and excessive
delay of two years and three months in disposal of his mercy petition (filed by
his mother) and thereby execution of death sentence. He further adds that he
had suffered solitary confinement lasting 10 years and also mental illness.
Citing a judgment of the Apex court in this regard, he contends that each of
the reasons/circumstances are independently sufficient to render the death
penalty in executable.
In addition, Reddy has also challenged the rejection of his mercy petition both
by Governor of Karnataka and also President of India in May 2013. His mother
had filed the mercy plea before the president in February 2011.The Supreme
court rejected his review petition early this month.
In 2006, a trial court had convicted Umesh Reddy for rape and murder of
Jayashri Maradi Subbayya ,a widow on February 28, 1998 in Peenya police limits.
The same was confirmed by the Karnataka high court on February 18, 2009.
Ultimately, even the Apex court upheld the said verdict.
Umesh Reddy, who was earlier employed as a police constable, hails from
Chitradurga district. He is accused of rape, murder and robbery and related
crimes at various places in Karnataka and also in Maharashtra and Gujarat as
well. He also escaped from police custody more than couple of occasions and
continued his activities.
(source: The Times of India)
Hoshiarpur boy's murder: SC stays death sentence of convicts
The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the execution order of Vikram Walia and
Jasbir Singh convicted for killing Hoshiarpur teen Abhi Verma in 2005.
A bench comprising Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice
Amitava Roy issued the stay orders and posted the matter for further hearing on
Hoshiarpur session court had issued death warrants for the 2 convicts for
October 25 after the President turned down their mercy petition. They, however,
filed an application in the Supreme Court seeking stay on the execution of the
orders. Advocate B S Billowaria appeared for the petitioners and pleaded that
the mercy petition filed earlier be re-opened and the defendants be granted an
open hearing in accordance with Supreme Court's ruling in criminal writ
petition no 77 of 2014 of Mohammed Arif and others.
Vikram Walia, Jasvir Singh and latter's wife Sonia, had kidnapped Abhi, a Class
9 student of DAV School for a ransom of Rs 50 lakh, and killed him with an
overdose of anaesthesia. On December 21, 2006, the district and sessions judge
had awarded death penalty to all 3.
The Punjab and Haryana high court had upheld the sentence of all 3 convicts but
the Supreme Court had commuted Sonia's sentence to life imprisonment. Walia and
Jasvir had filed a mercy petition with the President after a 3-member Bench of
the apex court had rejected their review petition in August 2015.
They are lodged in Patiala central jail.
(source: Hindustan Times)
Land dispute: Man awarded death penalty for murder
A district and sessions court in Dera Ghazi Khan sentenced a man to death on
Saturday after he was found guilty of killing a man over a land dispute. A
co-accused in the case has been declared a proclaimed offender.
According to the prosecution, the deceased named Laal Ahmed and the accused
Jalil Ahmed and Muhammad Tariq had a land dispute for a long time. One day,
Laal was going back home from work when Jalil and Tariq ambushed him and shot
him dead. Later, Saddar police registered a murder case against the suspects
and arrested Jalil while Tariq managed to flee.
While announcing the verdict, District and Sessions Judge Malik Khalid Mehmood
ordered the convict to pay a fine of Rs500,000 to the heirs of the deceased.
Jalil would have to undergo 6 additional months in prison if he does not pay
the penalty. The convict has been sent to the DG Khan Central Jail while Tariq
has been declared a proclaimed offender.
(source: The Express Tribune)
The death penalty returns to Europe
A box of clothes arrives on a doorstep in a European country just over 1,620km
(1,000 miles) from the UK.
It contains the belongings of a man executed by the state.
They will not know when it happened or where his body is buried - they simply
know it has been done.
This is the reality of the death penalty in Belarus, sometimes called Europe's
last remaining dictatorship, where executions have resumed, following a
The majority of people are killed by a gun shot to the head and the bodies are
never seen again.
The decision to resume executions comes just 8 months after EU foreign
ministers removed asset freezes and travel bans for more than 150 Belarusian
politicians and leaders, including President Alexander Lukashenko.
That EU move came after Belarus had released 6 political prisoners.
But at least 4 people have been sentenced to death since February.
Valiantsin Stefanovic from the Viasna Human Rights Centre told BBC Outside
Source: "There is a lot of secrecy around this problem.
"Sometimes it [death] happens very quickly, in 2 or 3 months after the decision
of the court.
"Nobody knows what happens to the bodies, they do not give them to the
relatives. The burial place is not shown."
The death penalty was introduced in Belarus during Soviet times and covered
several crimes, such as forging money, as well as murder.
Public opinion still favours executions, and polls in some parts of Western
Europe draw similar results.
"Public opinion has changed though," says Valiantsin. "The majority of people
still support this punishment, but that is nothing special."
Belarus has been widely criticised over its human rights issues during the
22-year-rule of President Lukashenko, who won a 5th term by a landslide last
About 400 people have been executed in Belarus since the country gained
independence from the USSR in 1991, more than 1 a month.
We spoke with Lyubov Kovaleva, whose 25-year-old son was executed in 2012 for
She claims he was forced into a confession and the verdict was to shoot the
"I was allowed only 3 meetings: before the trial, after the verdict was
announced and before the shooting," she told Outside Source. "His lawyer met
him only once."
Ms Kovaleva was instructed to discuss only private matters and talk about just
family and friends.
"There was a police officer behind me who controlled our conversation. My son
was behind the window and another police officer was behind him."
Before the 1st meeting she was given a piece of paper with questions she was
allowed to ask.
"I could not do anything to help him - apparently it was Lukashenko's decision
to execute my son."
A human rights report last week suggested rights to a defence in capital
punishment cases were being "systematically violated" and "lawyers and judges
Internationally the Belarusian government is now under pressure.
Europe's top human rights watchdog - the Council of Europe - deplored the
situation. Its secretary-general Thorbjoern Jagland said: "I am deeply
disappointed that Belarus has started using the death penalty again.
"I call on the authorities in Minsk to rapidly introduce a moratorium, as a
first step towards abolition."
And the European Parliament lamented the fact that Belarus was showing no sign
of progress on human rights.
(source: BBC news)
(source: The Chronicle)
A service courtesy of Washburn University School of Law www.washburnlaw.edu
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