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SC sets aside death sentence, Kerala to file review petition

The CPI(M) led LDF government in Kerala on Thursday said that the Supreme Court verdict commuting the death sentence of Govindachamy for the February 1, 2011 rape and murder of 23-year-old Soumya, to seven year jail term after dropping the murder charge “is not a just punishment” and that it would file a review petition.

“This is not a just punishment at all and it is hard for the public in Kerala to digest it. It will cause anxiety in the minds of people who value humanity,” Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said in a statement. He said that the government would at the earliest file a review petition. “We will ensure the best legal experts are drafted in to ensure justice for Soumya's family,” he said.

He pointed out that the trial court and High Court had issued orders after examining all aspects very carefully. Various types of evidence was examined, including that of forensic experts, which proved Govindachamy's guilt, he said. Law Minister A K Balan said people of the state were anxious and sad over the verdict. “It is very unfortunate. But I am not blaming the judges”, he told reporters here.

The Minister said that general perception of the people in Kerala was that “even if Govindachamy was hanged 100 times,” it was not enough for the crime he had committed.

A three judge bench of the Apex Court on Thursday commuted the death penalty of Govindachamy, a Tamil Nadu native, to seven year jail term after dropping the murder charge against him.

A Fast Track Court in Thrissur had awarded death sentence to the accused, which was upheld by the Kerala High Court later, against which the accused had moved the Supreme Court.
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