New Delhi: Five members of a family were on Friday awarded death sentence for killing a teenaged couple for honour in 2010 with a Delhi court saying the "savage nature" of the crime has shocked the judicial conscience and falls in the category of "rarest of rare cases".
Additional Sessions Judge Ramesh Kumar Singhal handed down death sentence to the five persons, who had mercilessly, tortured and then electrocuted their daughter and her lover as they were opposed to her plans to get married to the boy belonging to a Scheduled Caste.
"Keeping in view the medical evidence and the state in which the bodies of the deceased person were found, it is obvious that most heinous type of murders were committed in the present case. Both the deceased were electrocuted by the convict.”
"The offence was not only inhuman and barbaric but the savage nature of the crime has shocked the judicial conscience. In the case in hand, cold blooded, brutal murders through electrocution have been committed even as there was no provocation on behalf of the victims, making it a rarest of rare case, which calls for no punishment other than capital punishment, ASJ Singhal said.
"Such cruel and barbaric acts cannot be allowed to take place in developed metropolitan cities," he added.
The case pertains to the dishonour killing of Yogesh, 20, and Asha, 19.
The duo were in love and had disclosed to their parents that they intended to get married.
Asha`s family, engaged in the business of selling vegetables, had reservations over the boy`s caste and in June 2010, her parents Suraj and Maya, along with his uncle Om Prakash, his wife Khushboo and Asha`s cousin Sanjeev, killed the couple by beating and electrocuting them. While deploring the manner in which the murders were
committed, the court rejected their plea for leniency, saying the fact that convicts belonged to a poor family or have minor children cannot be a mitigating factor keeping in view the manner in which the offense was committed.
"Just like a flower has got its own unique fragrance, colour and appearance, both the victims had their own plans for life that lay ahead. It is clear from the evidence that both the victims intended to marry each other but all the convicts snatched their lives prior to fulfilment of their dreams."
Earlier during the arguments on sentence, defence counsel Pradeep Rana said capital punishment is warranted only in one in a million case.
"Considering their social setup, the court should consider that maybe the convicts thought it morally right to commit the offence," he added.
Public prosecutor PK Verma, however, rebutted the arguments saying no mercy can be shown for such an inhuman act.
"A judge has to balance the personality of the offender with the circumstances and situation in which offence was committed. In the present case, offence was committed in a barbaric manner which shakes the conscience of humanity.”
"Accordingly all convicts are awarded death penalty subject to confirmation by the High Court..," the court said while also slapping a fine of Rs 20,000 on each of them.
According to the prosecution, Yogesh, a taxi driver, and Asha, were neighbours in Gokulpuri. A few days prior to the incident, Asha told her mother that she loved Yogesh and that they wished to get married.
On June 13, 2010 Asha called Yogesh to her uncle Om Prakash`s house, saying they wanted to talk about their marriage. Yogesh reached Prakash`s house in Swaroop Nagar along with his brother-in-law Rakesh.
During the talks, the issue of caste was raised and Asha`s parents lost their cool on knowing that Yogesh belonged to a Scheduled Caste and started manhandling him and Rakesh. Both escaped and ran in different directions but Yogesh never returned home.
The next morning Rakesh went back to Prakash`s house which was locked and police and locals had gathered outside.
On breaking open the lock, police found Yogesh and Asha`s blood stained bodies with black and blue marks.
It was found that the duo were beaten up with wooden logs and sanitary pipes, tied with ropes and given electric shocks.
Prakash`s neighbour Umesh told the court that on the night of the incident he went to Prakash`s house on hearing shrieks. He said Prakash, Suraj and Sanjeev were beating up a man, Yogesh, while Asha was pushed against a handpump in the house while Maya and Khushboo kept a vigil outside.