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Supreme Court rejects death plea for Katara killers

Neelam Katara, mother of Nitish Katara.  

The Supreme Court on Friday declined a plea by Neelam Katara to award death sentence to Uttar Pradesh politician D.P. Yadav’s son Vikas and his nephew Vishal for murdering her son, Nitish, in 2002.



A bench led by Justice J.S. Khehar said the crime can neither be classified as an honour killing nor be in the category of the rarest of rare crime warranting death penalty.



“It may be a planned murder but it certainly is not heinous. And every murder is planned. Tell us which murder is not planned? If it is not planned, strictly speaking it will not be murder. If it is in heat of the moment, it will come under exception clause of Section 300 (murder),” Justice Khehar observed.



Senior advocate Harish Salve, for Neelam, tried to convince the court that Nitish was young and unsuspecting at the time of the crime, and he was led away by the convicts on some or the other pretext from a wedding party only to be killed in cold blood.



“A youngster was killed by youngsters. They (cousins) were also really young when they did it. It is all emotional. They saw them dancing together, kept a grudge in their heart and took the boy away and killed him,” the bench countered Mr. Salve



“If this is not rarest of rare then what else could be? It is honour killing since the family did not want the boy to be in a relationship with this girl,” Mr. Salve urged the court.



But the court remained impassionate, even saying that Nitish would not have been in the wedding party that night had the girl’s family objected.



When Mr. Salve said the body was found in a charred state, the bench said the body was burnt after killing Nitish.



“It was a corpse that was burnt. He was killed in one blow (of a hammer),” the bench countered.



Neelam Katara told the media that the court was still to hear the convicts’ arguments on quantum of sentence, and she would be filing an impleadment application to convince the court that her son was a victim of honour killing.



The Delhi High Court had sentenced the two Yadavs and their henchman Sukhdev Pahelwan to a 30-year jail term without remission.



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Printable version | May 18, 2021 5:58:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/no-death-penalty-for-nitish-katara-killers/article7743462.ece

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