Life behind bars for mother and daughter

Uttam Nagar homemaker Darshana and her 18-year-old daughter will be behind bars for the rest of their lives.

Written by Krishnadas Rajagopal | New Delhi | Published: March 14, 2009 1:38 am

Had stabbed to death family’s elder pregnant daughter,court says society just as guilty

Uttam Nagar homemaker Darshana and her 18-year-old daughter will be behind bars for the rest of their lives. Seven years ago,they stabbed to death Raj,Darshana’s unmarried elder daughter,on the night she was diagnosed as pregnant.

A Division Bench of Justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Aruna Suresh on Friday gave the “minimum sentence” of life imprisonment to the pair,who gave in to societal pressure that a “pregnant,unmarried daughter would sully the reputation of the family”.

“If society did not frown upon sex outside marriage and accept a single parent,there would have been no motive,and hence,no murder,” observed the court on Friday.

“We feel sorry for the mother and daughter,more for the latter,whose youth will be spent inside the four walls of a prison,” the judges observed,reasoning they were helpless and unable to lessen the prison term as their hands were tied by the law.

“Our sympathy for you (Darshana and daughter,Rajni) is not a justification to bend the law. Our hands are tied as far as the prison sentence is concerned,” the court said.

The Bench,however,“hoped” that mother and daughter would certainly make an appeal for mercy before an executive power in the days to come.

“This case is a classic illustration of the statement that society creates crimes and individuals give effect to these,” the court said while blaming social prejudice against “single parents”,which acted as the sole motive for the offence.

The incident had taken place on the night of April 17,2002,when Raj’s ultrasound report revealed that she was 19 weeks pregnant. She was later found dead in their Bhagwati Vihar home with 35 stab wounds on her,17 of them,according to the postmortem report,on her abdomen — this became incriminating evidence against Darshana and her daughter later during the trial.

“The womb was the target. The unwanted pregnancy of an unmarried girl in a conservative Indian society is bound to affect the family honour and socially ostracise it,” the Bench said spelling out the motive behind the mother and daughter’s actions.

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