The Haryana court's award of the death penalty to five persons involved in a so-called honour killing of a newly wed couple has been hailed by many. The brother of the deceased boy has reportedly decided to appeal for more justice, seeking the death penalty for the sixth accused. Will the death penalty for all six persons do justice to the crime of killing two persons? This however is not a sympathetic stand towards the criminals or khap.
The execution will definitely “send a strong message to the public” but it might have a negative impact as well. The strongest argument against capital punishment is that it does not give scope for the convict to suffer.
Though belated, the Haryana court has pronounced a landmark judgment, which will reinforce people's faith in the judiciary. It is a sign that the Constitution is supreme. The victims of such self-styled custodians of society must get justice soon. There are many instances where khap panchayats have passed arbitrary diktats, at times forcing married people to live as brother and sister. The court must ensure that all such couples are allowed to live with dignity as man and wife.
If the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act,1967, does not cover the activities of khap panchayats, it is time to enact legislation to halt this barbarity.
When are we going to get out of such false prejudices? Why do we call this “honour killing,” when it is sheer premeditated murder? This is a case of dereliction of duty on the part of the police and a case of multiple murders by the relatives of the victims. Let us hope that our law enforcing authorities take cognisance of the omission by the police and commission of multiple murders by the culprits. Speedy disposal of such cases with deterrent punishment is the need of the hour.
Comdt. G.V. Mathew (retd.),