Honour Killing or shame killing is the murder of an individual, either an outsider or a member of a family by someone seeking to protect what they see as the dignity and honour of their family. Honour killing prevails in several parts of India and continue to stigmatise the community. As per the National Crime Records Bureau data, 2015 India reported 251 honour killings, showing a significant rise in killings of people who love someone by the people who feel that they are protecting their family’s honour.
Honour killings have been reported mainly from Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and South Indian states as a result of people marrying without the consent of their family members and also sometimes when they marry outside their gotras, religion etc. Honour killings are often justified and encouraged by various communities.
The regime of honour is unforgiving: women on whom suspicion has fallen are not allowed to defend themselves and family members have no socially acceptable alternative but to remove the stain on their honour by attacking the woman. Although we claim to be a progressive society but cases of such age old beliefs and practices continue to become hindrance in the growth of our society. Many Indians still lives within the strong crutches of caste system.
However, our judiciary has always stood for the right and condemned the wrong. In a case of honour killing the Bombay High Court strictly upheld the death punishment of the accused.
The Bombay High Court’s Aurangabad bench on Monday upheld the death penalty of a brother who killed his real sister and her lover, for the sake of the honour of his family. The life sentence of the accused’s younger brother who helped him in the murder was also upheld by the court.
Division bench of Justices V.K. Jadhav and Shrikant D. Kulkarni were addressing the case of ‘Honour killing’. The accused, Digamber Dasre and Mahesh Dasre had filed a plea challenging their conviction under charges of murder and criminal conspiracy.
The Background Story of the Case:
Digamber’s sister Pooja had a love affair with Govind, who was the childhood friend of his brother Digamber. However, Pooja got married to Jethiba Varshewar in June 2017 as the family of the deceased Pooja was against the affair.
However, Pooja ran away from her matrimonial house mysteriously without informing anyone. Her husband later filed a missing report. Her brother, aware of the love affair between his sister and his friend, had a suspicion about the whereabouts of Pooja. Pooja on the other hand, couldn’t stay away from her lover and called him on his mobile phone one day and asked his address.
However, the brother-in-law of Govind suggested not to give her the address. But Govind went against the advice of his brother-in-law and gave his address to Pooja. She went to her lover’s house in village Kharbala and stayed with him.
Her brother, Digamber along with their younger brother started searching for a Pooja and Govind. Both the brothers reached Govind’s house as they had earlier suspected, both the lovers were together. Digamber, however didn’t threaten them, instead he assured the family members of Govind that he will perform the marriage of his sister Pooja and his friend Govind.
Digamber said that Govind was his childhood friend and even Pooja supported her brother and said that she had faith in her brother that he would perform her marriage with Govind. On the way to Pooja’s hometown in Nanded, Digamber killed both of them by slitting their throats.
The lower court had observed that it was a “rarest of rare case” and awarded death penalty to Digamber and life term to Mahesh as he only assisted Digamber and did not kill the couple. Both the brothers, said that they repent their act. They also claimed that the decision taken by them was the result of rage.
However, the court said that the manner in which the crime was committed indicates towards the sole intention of murder.
“We are shocked to see the manner in which deceased Pooja and deceased Govind were subjected to death. It was done not only with the sole intention to protect the honour of the family and it was done by hatching conspiracy to punish both of them. The manner in which throats were slit indicate the same as it was done with an intention to punish them.”
The bench noted that the face of accused Digamber was expression less when the court declared him guilty and he did not show any sign of repentance at all.
The High Court while pronouncing the judgment said that the crime is so grave as to shock the conscience of the society and would amount to the rarest of the rare case.
The High Court bench did not convert the death penalty of appellant-accused into life imprisonment.