Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Supreme Court dismisses bail plea of man accused of honour killing, asks him to surrender

The Court had on Friday reserved its order on the cancellation of bail granted to the accused of honour killing in Rajasthan and deferred its pronouncement till Monday, 12th July.

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The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed the bail granted to a man accused of honour killing in which a Kerala youth was shot dead in 2017 allegedly at the insistence of his in-laws for marrying a Jaipur-based girl of another caste. The court has directed him to surrender. (MAMTA NAIR Versus THE STATE OF RAJASTHAN AND ANR)

A bench led by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana said, “We are of the considered view, the bail granted to respondent no 3 Mukesh Chaudhary is not sustainable, he shall surrender. The trial should be expedited within one year.” 

The Court had on Friday reserved its order on the cancellation of bail granted to the accused of honour killing in Rajasthan and deferred its pronouncement till Monday, 12th July.

The bench which also comprised Justice A.S. Boppana and Justice Hrishikesh Roy heard the plea filed by the petitioner who is a 29-year-old woman. In the plea, she has challenged the order of Rajasthan High Court whereby the High Court has granted bail to her brother- Mukesh Chaudhary, who was involved in the brutal murder of her husband- Amit, in an honour killing incident on 17.05.2017. 

Sr. Adv. Indira Jaising assisted by Nupur Kumar (AOR) appeared for the petitioner opposed the bail granted to the brother of a woman, who allegedly killed her husband at point-blank range. Advocate submitted, “There is a danger of emotional blackmail in such close relationships which the woman (petitioner) has resisted for long.”

Ms. Jaising said, “This is a blatant case of honor killing of husband of a woman who married against her family’s wishes. It was inter-caste marriage, she’s from Rajasthan, boy was from Kerala. And the accused (family members) were making attempts to dissuade her from marrying the man long before she thought of marrying him. Mother and father entered her house with a sharpshooter, who shot at the husband at point-blank. It was only the neighbors who protected this girl. Otherwise, the plan was to kidnap her.”

Ms. Jaising also informed the court that the accused bail was rejected on two previous occasions. She submitted, “Now the mother has also been given bail. Before we know the case will collapse.” 

Ms. Jaising said, “What has been alleged is a criminal conspiracy between the parents and son to kill son in law and earlier bail was cancelled by SC saying that it’s not ordinary case, its case of honor killing. This is a very important social issue.”

Thereafter, CJI Ramana asked Sr Adv BK Shukla who was appearing for the accused, “What are these orders? Why can’t they wait. The anxiety of your client, before the trial he wants to come out of jail, that’s not correct. Previously we had cancelled. They should have waited for trial to be completed. The bench then ordered that it will pronounce its order on Monday

The Petitioner and her deceased husband got married in 2011 and did not inform the Petitioner’s parents of the same till 2015 as their marriage was out of caste and the Petitioner’s parents were not ready to bear this societal blot. Consequently, there were continuous threats from the family of the Petitioner to kill the Petitioner and her husband. 

“On 17.05.2017, the Father- Shri Jeevan Ram Chowdhary, Mother-Bhagwani Devi, Ramdevaram (Accused who shot the husband of the Petitioner) and Vinod Kumar Gaura (Accused who was waiting in the get-away car Honda Amaze) came to the residence of the Petitioner in a Honda Amaze car. The father and mother of the Petitioner along with Ramdevaram entered the house for Petitioner and enquired about the Petitioner’s Husband Amit. Thereafter, they started pressurizing the Petitioner to come with them to her maternal house,” the plea stated. 

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The plea further stated that, “On the petitioner’s refusal, Ramdevaram pulled out a country made pistol and shot the husband of the Petitioner in the face at point blank range resulting in his death. After shooting the Petitioner’s husband, Ramdevaram, went and stood outside the door to keep a guard. In the meanwhile, the Petitioner’s father and mother tried to drag the Petitioner by her hair out of the house. During this scuffle, the Petitioner and Petitioner’s niece (Vaishvi) started shouting and calling for help. In this commotion, one neighbor named Sona Devi and Vikas Yadav came to rescue and intervened. All four accused persons realizing that they can be caught by the neighbors escaped from the crime scene. All the four accused persons were seen by the Petitioner’s neighbor Sona Devi and her son Vikas Yadav while they ran away from the crime scene in their car Honda Amaze. Meanwhile, the Petitioner’s husband succumbed to fatal gun shots and was declared dead at the hospital.” 

After two days of the incident, Mukesh Chowdhary was arrested by police under the charges of Section 302, 452, 120B of the Indian Penal Code (“IPC”). The Honda Amaze car which was used by the accused persons was also recovered from Mukesh Chowdhary, from his rented house.

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