TAKING SERIOUS note of honour killings and their investigations in Haryana, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the state director general of police (DGP) to file an affidavit regarding the number of such cases registered in the state in which trial or probe is pending, and what steps have been taken to fast-track the same.
The single bench of Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi passed the order while hearing the bail plea of an accused, Ravi Kumar, in a case of ‘honour killing’, at Fatehabad, Haryana, which involves the murder of one Dharambir, husband of Sunita Rani (survivor).
Ravi Kumar was booked under Sections 285, 148, 149, 452, 364, 365, 302, 201 and 120-B of the IPC, 1860, and Section 25 of the Arms Act, 1959, in an FIR registered at Bhattu Kalan police station, Fatehabad district. Ravi Kumar is among 12 accused in the case, who have been chargesheeted, while three accused in the case are still absconding.
An FIR regarding the abduction of Sunita Rani and Dharambir was lodged on the complaint of Rai Singh on June 1, 2018. Dharambir was subsequently murdered by his abductors.
The bail plea was opposed by the state of Haryana, through a reply. The HC however stated: “whether any efforts were made by police to rescue the couple is not disclosed in the above said reply.custody of Sunita who would have been aggrieved by commission of the offences continued with her father/other family members and no efforts appear to have been ever made for her protection despite the fact that she was an important witness against the accused, all or most of whom were her relatives.” The counsel for Haryana then sought time for filing additional reply, also for the absconding accused. The bench adjourned the matter for hearing on November 10.
Justice Tyagi said the case involves allegations of honour killing of Dharambir by persons “whose honour was allegedly subjected to disgrace” by the deceased by performing marriage with their relative Sunita Rani (daughter of Sita Ram).
Justice Tyagi added that the Supreme Court has in a catena of judgments considered the offence of honour killing to fall in the category of rarest of rare cases, warranting death sentence. He cited the judgment of Bhagwan Dass vs. State (NCT) of Delhi (SC): 2011 (2) R.C.R. (Criminal) 920, wherein the apex court had held that “it is time to stamp out these barbaric, feudal practices which are a slur on our nation”.
Justice Tyagi further observed that “.cases involving honour killing require fast-track investigation by Special Investigation Teams having members with requisite expertise without any undue delay in investigation and unwarranted sympathy with the offenders while making sincere dedicated serious efforts for collection of circumstantial evidence available, taking steps for protection of witnesses including the survivor-wife or the husband and other important witnesses in completion of the chain of circumstantial evidence incriminating the accused responsible for commission of the heinous offence and also fast-track trial before the court for early disposal of the case by securing presence of prosecution witnesses before the court.”
Thus, in the affidavit sought by the Haryana DGP, Justice Tyagi also sought for steps taken for protection of the survivor-wife or the husband and other important witnesses in completion of the chain of circumstantial evidence incriminating the accused responsible for commission of the heinous offence. The affidavit has been sought from DGP on or before November 10, 2020
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines