The Supreme Court has accepted former apex court judge Markandey Katju’s apology for his comments against the court’s verdict on the rape and murder of a woman in Kochi in 2011. The court on Friday took up Katju’s apology application and subsequently closed the contempt proceedings initiated against him in connection with his remarks, reported PTI.
On November 11, the Supreme Court had slapped a contempt notice on Katju for the personal remarks he had made against the judges who had pronounced the ruling in the Kochi rape and murder case. The bench had summoned the former top court justice to discuss what he believed were “fundamental flaws” in its September 15 verdict. “Prima facie, the statements made seem to be an attack on the Judges and not on the judgment. We, therefore, issue notice of contempt to showcause why contempt proceedings should not be drawn up against Justice Markandey Katju and he be appropriately dealt with,” the court had said.
Katju had been critical of the September 15 judgment that had set aside the death penalty for the convict in the 2011 rape-murder case in Kerala. Criticising the judgment in his Facebook post, Katju had said it needed to be reviewed in open court since it was “regrettable that the court has not read Section 300 carefully.” Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code defines murder.
After the contempt notice, Katju apologised to the court and said he respected the judicial process and deleted his Facebook post where he had criticised the ruling. “I am ready to read out the apology before the open court,” his two-page application said.
The Supreme Court, on September 15, had commuted the death sentence awarded to Govindachamy, who was convicted in the case, and sentenced him to seven years in prison. The top court had dropped the murder charges against the convict but had held him guilty of the rape of the 24-year-old woman in February 2011.
In his Facebook post, Katju had argued that the Supreme Court had erroneously dropped the murder charges against Govindachamy. He had also accused the apex court of taking into consideration “hearsay evidence, which is inadmissible” in the court of law.