The All-India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) has expressed “grave concern” at the Supreme Court reducing to life imprisonment the death sentence in a multiple murder case awarded by the Maharashtra High Court, and especially over the comments made by a Division Bench in support of this decision.

Two adults belonging to different castes and communities got married. This marriage was not accepted by the girl’s family from Uttar Pradesh. More than a year after the marriage, when the girl was pregnant, her elder brother brutally assaulted her husband and his family, killing him, his father, his 13-year-old nephew, and a friend, and causing grievous injury to his mother and sister.

The Maharashtra unit of the AIDWA intervened in the matter and not only got the murderer arrested but also helped the young widow get a job and organised medical aid for her sister and mother-in-law, a statement issued by AIDWA said here on Friday.

“It is, therefore, with great dismay that we learn that the Supreme Court Bench has now reduced the sentence that had been passed in light of the brutality of the crime committed. It is also extremely disturbing to learn from press reports that the court observed that the murders were ‘the outcome of a social issue like the marriage with a person of a so-called lower caste’ and that when the younger sister commits something unusual, ‘then in society, the elder brother is justifiably or otherwise held responsible for not stopping such an affair. It is held as the family defeat. At times he has to suffer taunts and snide remarks even from the persons who really have no business to poke their nose into the affairs of the family.’”

If the body to whom all citizens look for protection of their Constitutional rights makes comments like these, then the plight of common citizens in this country will indeed be pitiful, the statement said.

The AIDWA has been demanding a special law to deal with ‘crimes of honour’, which now seems more necessary and relevant than ever, it said.

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