This article is written by Thejalakshmi Anil. This article deals with the case of Govindaswamy v. State of Kerala (2016) and provides a detailed analysis of the same. It includes a description of the facts, legal issues raised, arguments by the parties, and the judgement given by the court. 

it has been published by Rachit Garg.


The case of Govindaswamy v. State of Kerala involved the gruesome rape, assault and murder of 23-year-old Soumya by the accused, Govindaswamy. This brutal crime sent shockwaves across the country. It brought into the spotlight the debate on the death penalty in 2016, as the accused in this case was awarded the death penalty by the Trial Court, which was later confirmed by the Kerala High Court. However, this was overturned by the Supreme Court of India, acquitting Govindaswamy of the charge of murder, but the charge of rape was upheld. Subsequently, the mother of the deceased filed a review petition, which the Apex Court dismissed on the grounds that there was no clinching evidence to prove the intent to murder by the accused. 

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This case, much like the infamous Nirbhaya case, incited widespread rage against Govindaswamy, who was attacked by mobs more than once during the course of his trial. When the accused was ordered to death by the Trial Court, the crowd erupted with jubilation, distributing sweets and garlanding the public prosecutor.

However, this case also raises concerns regarding the continuing arbitrariness of the death penalty. The crime was followed by popular bloodlust, with calls for his execution in Kerala, and almost the entire state embracing the verdict of the Trial Court. In Bachan Singh v State of Punjab (1980), the Supreme Court held that the death penalty was to be awarded only in the “rarest of the rare” cases. This effectively places a very onerous burden to be fulfilled before a death sentence is awarded. Here, the judges not only disagreed on whether the death penalty should be imposed but also fundamentally disagreed on the question of whether the accused had committed the offence. 

This article seeks to look at these issues in greater depth, by looking at the facts of the case. This article tends to scrutinise the arguments of the parties, the relevant laws in dispute and the judgement given. Finally, a short discussion on the review petition, the disputed question of law therein and an analysis of this case is also dealt with.

Details of Govindaswamy v. State of Kerala (2016)

Name of the case

Govindaswamy v. State of Kerala

Equivalent citations

AIR 2016 SUPREME COURT 4299, AIR 2016 SC (CRIMINAL) 1342, (2016) 4 CURCRIR 8, (2017) 98 ALLCRIC 347

Type of the case 

Criminal Appeal 

Parties to the case




State of Kerala


The Supreme Court of India


Justice U.U. Lalit, Justice Prafulla C. Pant, and Justice Ranjan Gogoi.

Author of the judgment 

The judgment was authored by Justice Ranjan Gogoi on behalf of the other judges.

Date of the judgment

15 February 2016   

Laws involved

Sections 375, 376, 302, 325, 394, 397, and 447 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860

Facts of Govindaswamy v. State of Kerala (2016) 

The deceased was a woman of around 23 years of age, working in the city of Ernakulam in Kerala. On the 1st of February 2011, while travelling by train back to her home in Shornur for her engagement ceremony, she was attacked by the accused, a habitual offender who noticed that she was alone in the ladies’ compartment. The accused assaulted her by repeatedly banging her head against the compartment. She then fell off the train onto the tracks. The accused then proceeded to jump out of the train, moved the woman nearby, and raped her. He also ransacked her belongings. 

This version of events was supported by the passengers travelling adjacent to the compartment in which Soumya was assaulted. A pastor who was travelling in the next compartment told the police that he had heard Soumya’s cries. However, he was dissuaded from pulling the alarm chain on the train by a middle-aged man standing at the door of the compartment, who claimed that the girl had escaped from her attacker by jumping out of the train. \Upon reaching the Shornur railway station, they brought to the attention of the guard of the train that they had heard the cries of the deceased from the ladies’ compartment. This led to a search for both the deceased and the accused. Soumya was found still alive but badly bloodied, injured, and largely unresponsive on the side of the railway track. Though she was rushed to the hospital, she unfortunately passed away a few days later. The accused was arrested within 48 hours, and the investigation wrapped up in 90 days. The Thrissur Fast Track Court awarded the death sentence nine months after the incident. This was confirmed by a division bench of the Kerala High Court, which observed that the incident shook the collective conscience of the community. 

The medical evidence highlighted the cause of her death as the presence of multiple injuries. However, for the purpose of the case, the Supreme Court considered two to be especially relevant in accordance with the post-mortem report. The first was caused as a result of hitting the head of the victim against a flat, hard surface. The second was due to the fall from the train from a height of 5-8 feet. The cause of death was due to a combination of these two injuries, along with the supine position in which the deceased was kept by Govindaswamy for the purposes of the assault.  

The accused was also apprehended shortly after the incident. It is interesting to note that he voluntarily confessed to the doctor conducting the examination that he had committed the crime. 

Issues raised

The main legal issues raised in this case were: 

  1. Whether the accused can be held guilty for the relevant charges under the IPC? 
  2. Whether the second injury (the fall from the train) that ultimately led to the death of the victim (Soumya) can be attributed to the accused or not?
  3. Whether the accused is liable for the murder of the deceased? 

Arguments raised by the parties 

Appellant’s Arguments

In the High Court, the counsel for the accused argued that the trial court had not appreciated the evidence and failed to consider the facts in its proper perspective. 

The appellant raised the argument that there was an inordinate delay by the prosecution in registering the First Information Report (FIR). They contended that the railway authorities and local police had received information about the crime on the same day as the incident. However, the FIR was only registered at 3.30 AM the next day. 

The accused has also argued that the sperm taken by police in assistance with the doctor was made use of for fabricating evidence against him. This was dismissed by the court as being incredulous. 

Another argument raised by the accused was for a lesser alternative for the offence of murder other than the death penalty. It was argued that there was no premeditated attempt to murder by the accused and this had occurred in the spur of a moment. 

In the Supreme Court, the appellant once again contested his conviction for murder and appealed against the death sentence imposed on him. Here, his argument was that there existed no clear evidence which would go on to show that the accused had pushed the deceased out of the train causing the second injury. The possibility that she herself had jumped out could not be ruled out. It was also argued that he did not have the knowledge that by keeping the deceased in the supine position for sexual assault.

Respondent’s arguments

According to the prosecution, the accused who was a habitual offender rushed into the compartment of the victim upon noting that she was alone. Subsequently, he proceeded to assault her due to which she was rendered dazed and immobile. Then, she was pushed by him from the running train to the track. Following this, the accused jumped out after her, dragged her to the side of the tracks, raped her and ransacked her belongings. The prosecution version was supported by two witnesses who heard her cries and also saw the accused jump out the train.

With respect to the argument raised by the accused regarding the delay for filing the FIR, the State relied on precedents like State Of Himachal Pradesh vs Shree Kant Shekari 13 September (2004) and State of Punjab v Ramdev Singh (2004) wherein it was held that a mere delay in lodging the FIR cannot be mechanically used to doubt and discard the case of the prosecution. In case, the prosecution is able to satisfactorily explain the cause of such delay, then it cannot be used as a reason to disbelieve the version of the prosecution. 

Considering the lack of material particulars available such as the identities of the victim and accused, the extent of the crimes committed such as if deceased had been raped or not, or whether she had been pushed off the train or not, the Kerala High Court held that  considering the circumstances which has been clearly explained by the prosecution, a mere delay of less than 4 hours is no delay at all. The court held that with evidence raised by the prosecution, they have been able to establish the circumstances cogently and evidently. 

With regards to the punishment for murder, the prosecution argued for the highest sentence considering this case to be falling within the ambit of ‘rarest of the raredoctrine. The High Court concurred with this analysis. 

With regards to the nature of the second injury was of special interest to both parties, the State argued that, due to the impaired mental reflexes of the deceased resulting from the first injury, she could not have made the decision to jump. According to the prosecution, the accused caused the fall of the deceased from the train which along with the first injury and its complications led to the death of the victim. Hence, it was argued that the accused should be held liable for murder. 

Laws discussed in Govindaswamy v. State of Kerala (2016)

The accused in this instance was convicted under Section 376, Section 394 read with Section 397 IPC, Section 447 IPC, and Section 302 IPC. As mentioned earlier, due to the gruesome nature and gravity of the crime, the trial court had awarded the death penalty to Govindaswamy. This was also confirmed by the High Court. The appellant subsequently challenged it before the Supreme Court. 

Before moving on to the specific judgment given in this case, it is also pertinent to look into specific Sections and their scope that have been raised in this case.

Section 375 r/w Section 376 of IPC 

Section 375 deals with the offence of rape, which is defined as forcible sexual intercourse with a woman against her will. Under this Section, a man is said to commit rape if his actions fit within any of the seven clauses laid down under Section 375. This includes, but is not limited to, the penetration of the penis or any object or portion of the body of a man into any of the orifices of the woman, which includes the vagina, urethra, anus, or any other part of her body. 

Section 376 of the IPC lays down the punishment for committing the offence of rape. According to this Section, the punishment for rape ranges from imprisonment for 10 years to life imprisonment, along with a fine imposed on the accused. 

Section 376(2) lays down certain instances which would be considered as an aggravated form of rape, incurring higher punishment. This includes instances of rape committed by a police officer on a woman in his custody in the police station and rape of a pregnant woman, to name a few, covering 13 cases in total. In such instances, the punishment includes rigorous imprisonment of a term of 10 years, which may extend to life imprisonment, along with an imposition of fine.

Section 376 also addresses the rape committed against a woman who is under the age of 16. In these cases, the punishment is rigorous imprisonment for a term not less than twenty years which may extend to life imprisonment, and a fine payable to the victim. 

Therefore, while Section 375 describes what constitutes the offence of rape, Section 376 lays down its punishment and specifies instances of what could be considered aggravated rape. 

Section 300 r/w Section 302 of IPC

Section 300 of the IPC lists various circumstances that amount to murder and are punished under Section 302 IPC. These circumstances centralise around the intention of the accused. 

The first clause is straightforward stating that an act constitutes murder if it is committed with the intention of causing death. According to the second clause, a person is liable for murder if they intend to cause an injury that the offender is aware is likely to cause death. The third clause covers instances where there exists an intention to cause an injury which in the ordinary cause of nature would be enough to cause the death of the victim. Therefore, what needs to be proved here is that the perpetrator intended an injury that would be sufficient to cause death ordinarily. 

The Trial Court and the Kerala High Court in the Govindaswamy case found the acts of the accused falling within the ambit of Section 300(thirdly), holding him liable for murder. 

In Basappa v.State (1958), the accused assaulted the deceased using a sharp weapon on the nape of his neck while he was standing on the rooftop of a building. To escape the accused, the victim jumped off the roof. Following this, the accused threw the body of the deceased onto a burning haystack. Here, there was some uncertainty as to what exactly caused the death of the victim due to the combination of injuries he suffered. However, the Court held that even though the circumstances in which the death occurred in all three situations were different, due to the interconnection between the actions, they may be taken as one consolidated act. 

In Joginder Singh v. State of Punjab (1979), the accused was allegedly chasing the deceased with a dangerous weapon across a field. The deceased jumped into a well to escape from the accused but he drowned. Here, there was a lack of evidence to suggest that it was the accused who drove the deceased to jump. Due to the inconclusive evidence, the Court argued that the accused could not be held liable due to the absence of elements of intention or knowledge specified in the provision. 

Additionally, since the court placed reliance on the evidence law principle of Res Gestae becomes relevant in this regard, this principle is further discussed in this article. 

Section 6, Indian Evidence Act, 1872

Section 6 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 embodies the exception to the rule of hearsay and is usually referred to as the Principle of Res Gestae. Generally, hearsay evidence is inadmissible in the law of evidence. However, according to this doctrine, hearsay evidence may be admissible if it is a part of the same transaction. This includes facts that are so closely connected with the event in time and flow from it that they can be considered as a part of the same event. The spontaneity of the act is important in such cases. 

In the case of Vasa Chandrasekhar Rao v. Ponna Satyanarayana (2000), it was held that the phone call made by the father of the accused to the deceased’s father was not admissible since it did not form part of the same transaction. 

In Ratten v. R (1971), the victim had called the police for help, but before the operator could connect her to the police, the call got disconnected. Later, her dead body was recovered from the house where the call was made, and it was ascertained that the time of death and the time of the phone call were almost the same. Therefore, it was held that the call made to the police came under the purview of Section 6. 

In Gentela Vijayavardhan Rao and Anr. v. State of Andhra Pradesh (1996), the long interval between the act of carnage and the recording by the magistrate of the statement was found to be inadmissible.

In Kapoor Singh Rana v. State of Delhi (2005), the accused had thrown acid on the face of the victim. When her mother arrived, she found her daughter crying as she entered, upon which the daughter stated that it was the accused who had thrown the acid on her face. The Court held that the statement of the mother constituted res gestae and was admissible. 

Section 366 (1) of CrPC

Additionally, Section 366(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) becomes relevant. According to Section 366(1), a death sentence passed by the Court of Sessions must be submitted to the High Court. The death penalty will only be executed if it is confirmed by the High Court. 

In Mohinder Singh v. State of Punjab (2013), it was held that in cases where the Sessions Court passes the death sentence, the case should be referred to the High Court. The High Court can only deal with these cases as a court of reference. In doing so, the High Court needs to independently examine the entirety of the evidence and come to its conclusion regarding the guilt or innocence of the accused. While considering such a case, the Court must dispose of the reference for confirmation by considering the proceedings in all its aspects and come to a conclusion independently based on the material on record, distinct from the views expressed by the Sessions Judge. 

In State of Tamil Nadu v. Rajendran (1999), it was held that while considering a reference under Section 366, the High Court has to satisfy itself as to whether a case beyond reasonable doubt has been made out against the accused for imposition of the death penalty. Therefore, the Court should not only look at the conclusions of the Session Judge and the merits of the case but also examine the entire evidence on record.  

Section 325 of IPC

Section 325 of the IPC lays down the punishment for voluntarily causing grievous hurt. Section 320 lists eight instances classified as ‘grievous’ in nature, including emasculation, injuries resulting in loss of eyesight or hearing, disfigurement of face and head, and fractures or dislocations of any bones or teeth, among other injuries. This is a cognizable offence punishable with imprisonment of a term extending to 7 years, along with an imposition of a fine. 

Issue-wise judgment of Govindaswamy v. State of Kerala (2016)

As discussed earlier, the primary question was whether the accused could be held liable for the murder of the deceased. The court examined whether the nature of the injuries inflicted on Soumya could be considered sufficient in the ordinary course to cause death, or if any other clause under Section 302 could be made applicable. The judgment turned on whether the accused could be held responsible for the second injury. In this case, multiple injuries led to the death of the victim. In such cases, when multiple causes lead to a particular consequence, the issue of intervention becomes relevant. Intervention refers to a situation when another event or another act by a third person displaces the causal responsibility of the accused for the actus reus. When this happens, a break in the chain of causation occurs. The issue of whether there was such a break in causation became pertinent in the Govindaswamy case. 


Whether the accused can be held guilty of the relevant charges under the IPC 

The Court held that the accused is undoubtedly guilty with respect to the offence under Section 376. The conviction of the accused was confirmed by considering the postmortem report, DNA profile, and witness statements, which included those of the doctor conducting the postmortem and the Assistant Director, D.N.A. in the Forensic Science Laboratory, Trivandrum. The Court found that the existence of the DNA profile was decisive in confirming the liability of the accused. The offence of rape was committed on a barely conscious and bloodied Soumya and was termed as ‘necrophilic’ by the Kerala High Court. Due to the gruesome nature of the act and on account of the extreme injuries inflicted to satisfy the carnal urges of the accused, the Court upheld the life sentence which had been awarded by the Trial Court.

With respect to the crimes outlined under Section 394 alongside Section 397 of the IPC, dealing with the offences of voluntarily causing hurt in order to commit robbery and robbery with the attempt to cause murder or grievous hurt, the available evidence was sufficient to demonstrate the guilt of the defendant. Following the perpetration of the crime, the defendant took the deceased’s mobile phone and sold it. This phone eventually came into the possession of a witness, from whom law enforcement later confiscated it.

Whether the second injury (the fall from the train) that ultimately led to the death of the victim (Soumya) can be attributed to the accused or not?

The Court held that while the accused could be held liable for the first injury, since the possibility of the deceased herself jumping out of the train cannot be ruled out, the accused cannot be conclusively held to be liable for the second injury. 

Whether the accused is liable for the offence under Section 302 of IPC, i.e., the murder of the deceased? 

This issue pertained to the culpability of the accused under Section 302 and the appropriate punishment. The deceased in this case suffered from two injuries, which, coupled with being kept in the supine position during the sexual assault, led to her death. The first injury arose as a result of her head being repeatedly struck against the walls of the compartment. The second injury was due to the blunt force of falling from the running train onto the tracks. 

As mentioned before, under Section 302, an intention to cause death or knowledge that the act is likely to cause death is required. Even though keeping the deceased in a supine position did have a bearing on her death, the intention of the accused in keeping the deceased in the said position was for the purpose of sexual assault. Moreover, the accused cannot be attributed with the knowledge that the said act may result in death, as such knowledge and information are typically imparted during the training of medical and paramedical staff. Therefore, the court held that the offence under Section 302 could not be made out against the accused. Instead, the Court held the appellant to be guilty under Section 325. 

The court, thus, partially allowed the appeal filed by the accused in this instance. The convictions under Sections 376 (punishment for rape), 394 read with 397 (offences of voluntarily causing hurt in order to commit robbery and robbery with the attempt to cause murder or grievous hurt), and 447 (punishment for criminal trespass) and sentences imposed for the commission of the said offences were maintained. However, the conviction under Section 302 for murder was set aside and altered to one under Section 325, which lays down the punishment for voluntarily causing grievous hurt. 

Review Petition 

A review petition was filed by the mother of the victim and the State of Kerala in this case. This review petition was heard by a six-judge bench composed of then Chief Justice J.S. Khehar, Justices J. Chelameswar, Dipak Misra, Ranjan Gogoi, P.C. Pant, and U.U. Lalit. It was filed by the mother of the victim with assistance rendered by Justice Markandey Katju, who had previously expressed his criticism of the case on his Facebook page. In response, the Bench issued a notice requesting him to appear before the Court to address his reservations during the review petition filed by the State and the victim’s mother. The advocates arguing for the petitioners were Shri K.T.S. Tulsi, learned senior counsel, and Shri Mukul Rohatgi, learned Attorney General on behalf of the State of Kerala, Shri Ahmadi, and Shri Luthra, learned senior counsel appearing for the review petitioner. 

While several arguments were advanced, the Court compartmentalised them into two categories: firstly, the decision of the Court has been faulted for its reliance on hearsay evidence, and secondly, whether this offence falls within the third and fourth clauses of Section 300 IPC. 

Firstly, the Court placed reliance on the statements of two prosecution witnesses who had merely ‘heard and believed’ a middle-aged man. However, this middle-aged man was never brought to trial before a court. This constitutes ‘hearsay evidence’ which the petitioners argued should have been rejected summarily. Hearsay evidence is excluded on the ground that it is always desirable for the Court to examine the person whose statement is relied upon. 

However, the Court used the evidence law principle of res gestae to justify the reliance on the testimony. The Court held that the statement made by the middle-aged man was contemporaneous and spontaneous and was not disputed subsequently. Additionally, this was also the version of the prosecution. Therefore, the Court held that the evidence of the two witnesses with respect to the middle-aged man was not discredited as it aligned with the prosecution’s version.

Secondly, the Court had to decide if the offence fell within the third and fourth clauses of Section 300. Justice Katju argued that the repeated banging of the victim’s head by Govindaswamy (causing the first injury) would fall within the ambit of clause three of Section 300. He contended that since the head is a pivotal part of the body which is highly sensitive, repeated hitting of her head would indeed cause death ordinarily. The prosecution also relied on the cases of Basappa and Joginder to support their argument. 

The Court held that in Basappa, there was a clear intention to cause death or at least bodily injury so as to bring the offence under the third and fourth clauses of Section 300. However, in this case, since the role of the accused in causing the second injury is not free from doubt and the first injury in itself is not sufficient to cause death, this precedent could not be applied. The Court emphasised that for murder to fall within the ambit of the third instance in Section 300, the injury caused by the accused must be sufficient in itself to cause death in the ordinary course of nature. Since the postmortem report clearly said that the first injury was only sufficient to render Soumya dazed and insensitive, and would not be the exclusive cause of her death, the Court held that this provision could not be applied. 

The petitioners also attempted to use the extra-judicial confession of the accused made to the doctor as a line of argumentation. The prosecution placed reliance on  B.A. Umesh v. High Court of Karnataka (2011) and M.A. Antony v. State of Kerala (2009), where extra-judicial confession was accepted since it was made to a doctor and no evidence suggested that a policeman had been present. While this was accepted in the Trial Court and the High Court, it was rejected by the Apex Court. The Court held that such an extra-judicial confession does not inspire confidence in this instance.

Therefore, the Court dismissed the review petition and upheld the previous decision of the Apex Court in this case. 

Analysis of Govindaswamy v. State of Kerala (2016) 

In this case, the dispute was whether the accused committed the murder or the deceased or not. The Supreme Court by holding that since the possibility of whether Soumya jumped out or was pushed off could not be conclusively determined acquitted Govindaswamy of the charge. However, if the Court had given weightage to the principles of causation, this would no longer have been relevant in determining the liability of the accused for murder. 

While arguing along the lines of principles of causation, the appellant might argue that the causal sequence, which began with him forcefully hitting the victim’s face against the walls of the train, was interrupted when the victim chose to jump out. However, a commonly accepted rule regarding victim intervention suggests that the causal sequence remains unbroken if the victim’s actions are in response to the accused’s actions and are within a foreseeable range. In this scenario, even if Soumya chose to leap from the train, it wouldn’t disrupt the causal link, given that the train was moving at a moderate speed, making her decision a conceivable measure for her protection. Therefore, her actions were within a foreseeable range, maintaining the causation chain. 

This viewpoint is reinforced by international case laws where victims have jumped from moving vehicles or buildings to escape assaults by the accused. For instance, in R v. Roberts (1971), the victim jumped out of a moving vehicle to save herself from sexual assault. The Court held that the accused was responsible for the injuries caused to her by her decision to jump out of the car since it was due to his actions that she acted as she did.

In another case, Regina v. Paul Gowans and Barry Hillma (2003), the accused seriously injured the deceased, causing them to fall into a coma. While in the hospital, the victim’s wounds became infected as a result of which he passed away. The court held that the accused caused the death of the victim, as he would not have passed away without the initial attack by the defendant.

Hence, by overlooking this crucial aspect and placing its entire reliance on hearsay evidence, the Court erred in wrongly acquitting the defendant of liability for the offence of murder.


The Soumya rape case is indeed a chilling incident that created massive anguish among the people of the country. Soumya was alone on the train for a mere 10 minutes when Govindaswamy pounced on her. This case shows how, just by the fact of being a woman, females in India face a profound sense of insecurity and threat. This is further exemplified by the recent gang rape of a Spanish woman tourist in Jharkhand, which has highlighted the dangers faced by women in India. This case highlights one of India’s most rampant problems: the struggle to curb the rising sexual violence against women. Reports of such horrific sexual assaults on women have almost become commonplace in India, with around 31,316 rape cases recorded in 2022, representing a 20 percent increase from 2021. Considering the stigma associated with rape, the actual number is likely to be much higher.

What is even more horrifying is the fact that this tussle was heard by passengers who, even after hearing her distressed cries, did not come to the aid of Soumya. The Kerala High Court strongly criticised the insensitivity and selfishness of the passengers for failing to come to the rescue of the deceased. Moreover, the role played by the middle-aged man who dissuaded passengers from pulling the alarm train again highlights the selfishness of the community. Indeed, this also shows how the Indian Railways failed to secure the safety of the female passengers. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a review of judgment? 

According to Article 137 of the Indian Constitution, the Supreme Court has been conferred the power to review any of its orders of judgments. This power has to be read with the Supreme Court Rules framed by the Supreme Court under Article 145

In criminal matters, the powers of review of the Supreme Court are laid down in Supreme Court Rules, 2013 in Part IV Order XLVII and are limited to examining if there is an error apparent on the face of the record. The procedure for filing a review in criminal law is provided under section 397 of the CrPC. 

In civil cases, review is to be done in accordance with Section 114 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. According to the rules of the Supreme Court, this must be filed within a month from the judgment or order of which the review is sought. Additionally, the same bench that delivered the judgment must review it.

How is the review of a judgment different from its appeal? 

In an appeal, the higher court re-hears the case at hand, considering all aspects of the original trial to determine if any errors were made in the application of the law or legal principles. In criminal cases, the procedure for filing an appeal has been provided under Chapter 29 of the CrPC from Section 372 to 394. Whereas, in civil law, Sections 96112 of the CPC covers appeal.

However, in a review, the court’s scope is narrower; it re-examines its own decision and focuses on rectifying apparent errors that would lead to grave injustice. Review is undertaken if there is discovery of new evidence. The process of a review petition is extremely rigorous due to the principle of stare decisis (stand by what is decided). The grounds for consideration in such a petition are the discovery of new and important evidence, an error that is apparent on the record, and other sufficient reasons. 

What is hearsay evidence?

Hearsay evidence refers to the testimony or other evidence presented by a witness in the court about statements made by other individuals outside of the court. In simple terms, it is the evidence presented by one person about what they heard from another person, instead of witnessing it on their own. Under Section 60 of the Indian Evidence Act, hearsay evidence is prohibited except in certain limited circumstances.

What is Article 124(7)? 

According to Article 124(7) of the Constitution of India, a person shall not plead or act in any court or before any authority in India if this person had previously held office as the Judge of the Supreme Court. 

Was Article 124(7) attracted in this case?

In this case, Justice Katju had raised apprehensions about whether Article 124(7) could be made applicable. However, J. Katju did not appear as the counsel of the victim. Moreover, asking him to provide his opinion does not constitute an ‘act’, as according to the principle of statutory interpretation, this should be interpreted in line with the word ‘plead’. Therefore, this Article was not attracted to the Govindaswamy case. 


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