Soumya murder case-Markandey Katju

Markandey Katju
17 September
Soumya murder case
From the evidence on record it appears that Saumya had two sets of injuries.Injury no.1 were the injuries she got inside the ladies compartment in the train, and injury no.2 were those she got by falling off the train.
I have already said that even regarding injury no.1 by itself the accused Govindachamy was guilty of murder, since he repeatedly hit Saumya’s head on the wall of the compartment, which was sufficient in the ordinary course to cause death. The head is a vital part of the body, and is not like a leg. So catching the hair of a woman and repeatedly hitting her head against a wall is sufficient in the ordinary course to cause death This was a case clearly covered by the Third Part of section 300. So the Supreme Court erred by acquitting the accused on the charge of murder.
However, we may also consider the matter regarding injury number 2. The Supreme Court held in paragraph 16 that it cannot be held that the accused pushed Saumya off the train, and she may have jumped off it herself.
Paragraph 16 of the judgment reads :
” 16. In this regard, the learned counsel for the State has referred to injury No.1 sustained by the deceased, as deposed to by P.W.64, and has contended that in view of the impaired mental reflexes that the deceased had at that point of time it may not have been possible for her to take a decision to jump out of the train.
While the said proposition need not necessarily be incorrect what cannot also be ignored is the evidence of P.W. 4 and P.W. 40 in this regard which is to the effect that they were told by the middle aged man, standing at the door of the compartment, that the girl had jumped out of the train and had made good her escape. The circumstances appearing against the accused has to be weighed against the oral evidence on record and the conclusion that would follow must necessarily be the only possible conclusion admitting of no other possibility. Such a conclusion to the exclusion of any other, in our considered view, cannot be reached in the light of the facts noted above. ”
But the statements of PW 4 and PW 40 were hearsay evidence. PW4 and PW 40 do not say that they themselves saw Saumya jumping off the train. And hearsay evidence is inadmissible in evidence vide section 60 of the Indian Evidence Act, except in certain limited circumstances e.g. a dying declaration or opinion of an expert. None of those limited circumstances existed in this case. So how could the Court rely on this hearsay evidence ? This was a grave error in the judgment, not expected of judges who had been in the legal world for decades. Even a student of law in a law college knows this elementary principle that hearsay evidence is inadmissible