HC upholds life term to 4 in honour killing case

New Delhi: Strongly condemning the practice of "honour killings", the Delhi High Court on Friday upheld the life sentence awarded to four persons for killing a youth, who had an affair with the daughter of one of the convicts, in March 2000.

A bench of justices Ravindra Bhat and G P Mittal directed the convicts to surrender before the trial court by September 1 to serve the remaining sentence.

"The practice negates an individual's freedom to choose his or her spouse, and leading a life, with dignity, and enjoying the rights guaranteed by the Constitution," the bench said.

It said, "The practice places exaggerated value on endogamous choice, dictated by kith and kin, on the one hand, and denies outsiders the freedom of choosing their partners, based on consent. Such social practices, which sanction what are plainly crimes, require the severest condemnation."

The court upheld the conviction of city residents Preetam, Shyamlal, Devender and Himmat for killing one Mahesh who had an affair with Shyam Lal's daughter Parvesh.

"The injuries indicate merciless beatings rained on the deceased. By all accounts, the appellants? motive was to teach the deceased a lesson, and do him to death, what has been termed as honour killing, "the court said.

Under the pretext that the girl's parents had agreed for the marriage, the accused persons called Mahesh and took him in a car on March 22, 2000.

After killing him, they dumped his body in a drain in Najafgarh and the body was recovered on March 26, 2000.

The trial court had in 2001 sentenced all four persons including the father of the girl to life imprisonment for killing Mahesh.