Retired Supreme Court judge Justice Markandey Katju said the apex court had made some ‘serious mistakes’ in the Soumya rape-murder case by commuting the death sentence of the accused to life, and attributed it to ‘judges not being able to give much time to cases as they deserve due to heavy workload of pending cases’.
The Former Press Council Chairman made these comment in a Facebook post on Monday.
Here’s what he said in the Facebook post:
“In the Soumya case when I heard for the first time that the Supreme Court had issued notice to me and asked me to appear before them and explain my views, I was upset because I thought the Court was trying to humiliate me since I had criticized their judgement, and such an order was unprecedented.
So I had initialy thought of not appearing before the Court on 11th November ( the date fixed ).
But when I received the notice of the Court and read it, I found that the Court used very respectful language to me ( part of which I have quoted in an earlier fb post ), and had ‘requested’ me, not ‘ordered’ me, to appear, since they seemed to be sincere about their desire to reconsider their judgment, and did not have a closed mind.
Lord Denning, the celebrated British judge once said ” The Judge has not been born who has not made a mistake “, and in Soumya’s case I genuinely believe that the Supreme Court made some serious mistakes in its judgment by reversing the death penalty awarded by the High Court, and I have given my reasons in my posts on fb and blog.
Possibly these mistakes were made because the Court is so overburdened with work that it cannot give as much time to cases as they deserve which they would have otherwise done, had it not been for this heavy load of cases to decide.
We are all humans, and all of us make mistakes, but a gentleman is one who realizes his mistake, acknowledges it, and seeks to make amends. This should apply to judges too.
I myself have sometimes made mistakes in my judgments.
In Gian Singh vs. State of Punjab, SLP 8989 of 2010 I observed :
“We are of the opinion that the above three decisions require to be re-considered as, in our opinion, something which cannot be done directly cannot be done indirectly. In our, prima facie, opinion, non-compoundable offences cannot be permitted to be compounded by the Court, whether directly or indirectly. Hence, the above three decisions do not appear to us to be correctly decided.
It is true that in the last two decisions, one of us, Justice Markandey Katju, was a member but a Judge should always be open to correct his mistakes. We feel that these decisions require re-consideration and hence we direct that this matter be placed before a larger Bench to reconsider the correctness of the aforesaid three decisions “.
Since after reading the Supreme Court notice I felt that the judges had no intention to humiliate or insult me, but rather were anxious to get my help in reconsidering their judgment, I decided to appear of 11th November at 2 p.m. ( the date and time fixed )”