SC News | Jahnavi Bhuptani | Social Thikana
The Supreme Court set aside the decision granting bail to a man who was involved in a criminal conspiracy to murder his brother- in- law, as given by the Rajasthan High Court. The case was a clear example of the act of honour killing. Rajasthan High Court had granted bail to the accused Mukesh Choudhry. However, his sister- the wife of the deceased- challenged this order, contending that the bail wasn’t granted after considering the critical facts and circumstances surrounding the case which pointed to her brother’s "involvement in the brutal murder of her husband in an honour killing incident on 17.05.2017". The woman, a 29-year-old woman had married a Malayali man against the wishes of her family. There were attempts to dissuade the woman from marrying the man even before the marriage was set. The original plan was to kidnap the woman after the mother and the father had murdered her husband. It was the neighbours who had protected the woman.
A bench headed by the Chief Justice of India set aside the High Court's order observing that the same was not sustainable and asked the accused Mukesh Choudhury to surrender. The trial court was directed to complete the trial within a period of one week. The Supreme Court noted that the examination on 17 out of 47 witnesses are complete. An 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. It is an archaic practice that is, unfortunately still prevalent in some regions of India. Rajasthan has one of the highest cases of honour killing in India. The principal factor behind the practice of honour killing is that some families still do not accept inter- caste marriage as a pretext of maintaining the ‘decorum’, ‘status’ or ‘pureness’ of their families. This is even more problematic in India because of the huge socio- cultural diversity which may at times result into really complex problems. A landmark case law with respect to honour killing is Shakti Vahini v Union of India, 2018.
There are multiple penalties as laid down under the Indian Penal Code and various of articles of the Indian Constitution do act as a protection against the problem of honour killing. That being said, universal acceptance of diversity, literacy and evaluating the position of gender equality and elevating the lives of women- especially- can play an important role somewhat alleviating the problem of honour killing.