New Delhi: The Supreme
Court Monday said that honour killings fell in the category of
rarest of rare crimes and those committing them deserved capital
Honour killings "are nothing but barbaric and brutal murders by
bigoted persons with feudal minds", Justices Markandey Katju and
Gyan Sudha Misra said in their ruling.
"In our opinion, honour killings, for whatever reason, come within
the category of rarest of rare cases deserving death punishment.
"It is time to stamp out these barbaric, feudal practices which
are a slur on our nation," the judges said.
The court said this while upholding the death sentence awarded to
Bhagwan Dass, who was convicted for killing his daughter after she
deserted her husband Raju and began an incestuous relationship
with her uncle.
"In our opinion both the trial court and high court have given
very cogent reasons for convicting the appellant, and we see no
reason to disagree with their verdicts.
"There is overwhelming circumstantial evidence to show that the
accused committed the crime as he felt that he was dishonoured by
his daughter," said the judgment.
Speaking for the bench, Justice Katju said: "This is necessary as
a deterrent for such outrageous, uncivilized behaviour. All
persons who are planning to perpetrate 'honour' killings should
know that the gallows await them.
"There is nothing honourable in honour killings," the judgment
"Often young couples who fall in love have to seek shelter in the
police lines or protection homes, to avoid the wrath of kangaroo
courts," the court pointed out.
Starting his judgment with a couplet from renowned poet Mirza
Ghalib (Hai maujazan ek kulzum-e-khoon kaash yahi ho, Aataa hai
abhi dekhiye kya kya mere aage), Justice Katju said: "This is yet
another case of gruesome honour killing, this time by the
accused-appellant of his own daughter."
The court said 'honour' killings had become commonplace in many
parts of the country, particularly in Haryana, western Uttar
Pradesh and Rajasthan.
"If someone is not happy with the behaviour of his daughter or
other person, who is his relation or of his caste, the maximum he
can do is to cut off social relations with her/him.
"But he cannot take the law into his own hands by committing
violence or giving threats of violence."