The government on Tuesday said Ajmal Amir Kasab, who was sentenced to death in the 26/11 attacks case, may be hanged in a year.

“I don't think it (execution of Kasab's sentence) should take more than one year...after all, these are the days of fast tracking cases...,” Union Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily told the CNN IBN responding to a question.

Talking to the NDTV, Mr. Moily said that since public sentiments were attached with the terror attack, the courts could adopt speedy procedures.

“[The] Kasab case will be one such case which needs to [be] fast-tracked by the High Court and definitely the verdict should be given,” he said.

“This is a case where I do not think he [Kasab] can invoke any provision of the mercy petition...The incident of 26/11 involved brutal and barbaric murder. He was an active participant into it... that is how he was convicted and sentenced to death in [the] rarest of rare cases. This has been considered by the judge who has convicted him... sentiments are riding very high. This is a matter, which has to be considered by everyone,” Mr. Moily said.

On the issue of mercy petitions, the Minister said, “The time has come. We cannot delay the processing of mercy petitions, whatever it may be. It can be processed early.”

Honour killings

In the backdrop of increasing instances of diktats being issued by caste councils on marriages involving couples belonging to same sub-castes, Mr. Moily said murders in the name of honour could not be justified.

Asked whether his Ministry was working on a proposal to amend the Hindu Marriage Act to ban marriages within the same sub-caste [gotra] as demanded by caste councils or ‘khap panchayats,' he said he did not receive any representation or proposal in this regard.

To a question on whether he would look into the demand if he received such a representation, he said: “As a Law Minister, I cannot comment on something about which I have no detail.”

Mr. Moily's remarks came soon after Congress MP Naveen Jindal and INLD leader Om Prakash Chautala expressed support for the ‘khap' system.

In a move aimed at dealing with the problem of honour killings, the government mooted proposals to amend the law to classify such incidents separately under the Indian Penal Code which would also arraign a caste panchayat which orders such acts.

As per the amendment, bodies such as caste panchayats could be brought under the ambit of the crime as they were accused in many instances of ordering killings in the name of protecting honour of a community.

“The Law Ministry has recently given a go-ahead to a proposal of the Home Ministry to insert a separate section in the IPC to define the crime.”

The Ministry had asked Attorney-General G.E. Vahanvati to give his opinion on whether honour killing could be brought within the purview of the term murder.

Mr. Vahanvati, in his opinion, said that the IPC could be amended to insert a separate section on honour or customary killings. He also said the Evidence Act could be amended to put the onus of proof on the accused. Caste panchayats ordering the killings could also be accused of the crime and all members of such bodies could be deemed guilty, whether or not they have favoured the killing.

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