The Supreme Court on Wednesday awarded life sentence to three persons who caused the death of six persons of a family in a case of ‘honour' killing at a village in Uttar Pradesh in 1991.

A Bench of Justices H.S. Bedi and J.M. Panchal reversed the order of acquittal passed by the Allahabad High Court after the trial court handed them the death sentence.

High Court order justified

The Bench said: “There is no … doubt that killing six persons and wiping out almost the whole family on the flimsy ground of saving the honour of the family would fall within the rarest of rare cases [principle] evolved by this court and, therefore, the trial court was perfectly justified in imposing capital punishment on the respondents. However, this court also notices that the incident had roughly taken place about 20 years ago. Further, the High Court acquitted the respondents by a judgment dated April 12, 2002. Thereafter, nothing adverse against any of the respondents is reported to this court. To sentence the respondents to death after their acquittal in 2002 will not be justified on the facts and in the circumstances of the case.”

The Bench also imposed a fine of Rs.25,000 on each of the accused.

The incident took place on August 10/11, 1991 at Lakhanpur in Farrukhabad district. Respondents Krishna Master and two others were charged with murdering Guljari and his family members. The provocation was that a boy eloped with a girl belonging to another community. To convict the accused, the trial court relied on the evidence of Madan Lal, who was six years old when the incident happened. However, the High Court acquitted them. The State filed an appeal in the Supreme Court.

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