Loading...

People Of India Are Still Victims Of Social Evils Like Casteism: Telangana High Court Denies Bail To Accused In An Honour Killing Case

In a recent, righteous and remarkable judgment titled # Gudur Sandeep Reddy & others Vs $ The State of Telangana rep. by Public Prosecutor, Hyderabad in Criminal Petition Nos. 5819, 5939, 5961, 6095 & 6097 OF 2020, the Telangana High Court while dismissing the bail plea filed by some accused in an honour killing case has lamented that the people of India are victims of social evils like casteism and honour killings. Justice K Lakshman of Telanagana High Court who delivered this judgment dated December 2, 2020 minced no words to underscore that, “It is trite to note that the caste system, illiteracy and poverty etc. including ‘honour killing’ are social evils which India is facing even after 73 years of Independence. On one hand, there is unimaginable development in the field of Science and Technology. People are planning to stay in other Planets, like Moon etc. They are using technology in all fields. On the other hand, the very same people of India are victims of social evils, like casteism and honour killings.” Very rightly so!

To start with, the Bench of Justice K Lakshman sets the ball rolling by first and foremost pointing out that, “All these Criminal Petitions are filed by respective petitioners seeking grant of regular bail. The respective petitioners are accused Nos.18, 12, 15, 16, 9, 10, 13, 14 and 17 respectively in Crime No.592 of 2020 on the file of Gachibowli Police Station, Cyberabad Commissionerate. The offences alleged against them are under Sections – 120B (1), 302, 365, 452, 509, 323 and 506 read with 34 of IPC.”

Without mincing any words, the Bench then observes in para 3 that, “This is a case of ‘honour killing’. The accused have trespassed into the house of the de facto complainant and the deceased – Chintha Yoga Hemanth Kumar, having made preparations to commit offence to kidnap and murder the deceased with criminal conspiracy and criminal intimidation. The role played by each of the accused in the commission of offence is specifically mentioned in the remand report.”

While elaborating the facts of the case, the Bench then observes in para 4 that, “As stated above, it is an honour killing. The deceased fell in love with the de facto complainant and decided to marry. They belong to different castes. The deceased belongs to ‘Vsya Community’ and the de facto complainant belongs to ‘Reddy Community’. The parents of the de facto complainant were not happy with the said love affair and not interested in the proposal of the de facto complainant to marry the deceased. The parents of the de facto complainant with the help of their relatives, who are also accused in the present crime, tried to convince the de facto complainant and the deceased. They have forcibly taken the cell phone of the de facto complainant. For sometime they kept silent. Thereafter, the de facto complainant and the deceased continued to meet each other. They have also threatened the deceased and his father. But, there is no change in the attitude of the deceased. The deceased and the de facto complainant have continued their love affair and ultimately they got married on 10.06.2020 against the wishes of the parents of the de facto complainant. Due to the same, the parents of the de facto complainant were not happy and they felt insult in the society. They underwent trauma and they have tried to convince her daughter. But, there is no change in the decision of the de facto complainant. Therefore, the parents of the de facto complainant have hatched a plan to do away the life of the deceased. Accordingly, they have murdered the deceased in connivance with the other accused for marrying their daughter which is an inter-caste marriage. Thus, it is an ‘honour killing’.”

While regretting such reprehensible killings, the Bench then holds in para 5 that, “This is not for the first time such an incident was happened in India, more particularly, in the State of Telangana. Honour killings have been happening now and then. Unfortunately, even after 73 years of Independence, the said incidents have been happening in India. ‘Honour Killing’ is another social evil which Indian Society is facing. ‘Honour Killings’ are still holding their place in today’s society in spite of modern mind set and advance thinking. It is a global phenomenon. Even the advanced Countries, like United Kingdom, United States of America are facing the said problem. The statistics given by the National Crime Bureau on the honour killing shocks the conscious of the people of India.”

While divulging some key figures, the Bench then notes in para 6 that, “From 2012 to 2017, 187 cases were reported in the State of Tamil Nadu alone. In one of the Rulings, the Apex Court mentioned that 288 cases of ‘honour killings’ are reported in India for the period from 2014 to 2016. From January, 2019 to June, 2019, 7 cases were reported in India, and out of them, 3 women were killed. 13 honour killing cases are pending in 8 Districts of Haryana itself. Similar cases were also reported in the States of Western Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Delhi. The present case is second case reported in the State of Telangana in recent past.”

While dwelling on the reason behind such killings, the Bench then states in para 7 that, “Murder of a member of family due to perpetrators belief that the victim has brought shame or dishonour upon the family or has violated the principles of a community or a religion with an honour culture is called ‘honour killing’. The killers justify their actions by claiming that the victim has brought dishonour upon the family name or prestige. The reasons for the honour killings appear to be that marriage out of caste, divorce, marriage by choice, homosexuality, pregnancy before marriage, inappropriate dressing etc. It also appears that the killers are committing the said honour killings to save their prestige of the family or done in order to make it an example for other or done out of rage or anger. But, there is no change in the attitude of young generation. Honour killers failed to appreciate the same.”

While continuing in a similar vein, the Bench then laments further in para 8 that, “It is trite to note that the caste system, illiteracy and poverty etc. including ‘honour killing’ are social evils which India is facing even after 73 years of Independence. On one hand, there is unimaginable development in the field of Science and Technology. People are planning to stay in other Planets, like Moon etc. They are using technology in all fields. On the other hand, the very same people of India are victims of social evils, like casteism and honour killings.”

Needless to say, it is then further stated in para 9 that, “People are also influenced by caste system and other traditional practices which they believe to follow throughout their lives. One such thing, which Indian people consider very precious is, “honour”. In a patriarchal society, women are considered as bearer of honour of the family.”

To be sure, the Bench then further laments in para 10 that, “Honour Killers fail to understand and appreciate the rights guaranteed by the Constitution of India to the people of India. Article – 14 deals with ‘right to equality before law’. As per Article – 15 (1) and 15 (3), there is prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. Article – 17 deals with abolition of untouchability. Article – 19 (1) deals with freedom to speech and expression, and Article – 21 deals with right to life and personal liberty.”

Frankly speaking, the Bench then makes it a point to reveal in para 11 that, “The statistics also would reveal that most of the honour killings focus on women and very few on men and, thus, lead to gender based violence. The freedom of expressing a women or men’s choice is suppressed and the said suppression further leads to such killings, thereby violating the fundamental rights of the said persons. The perpetrators use religion or caste as grounds for dishonour, thereby trying to validate such killings. The said act is totally contrary to the Constitution.”

Truth be told, the Bench then discloses in para 17 that, “In the said background, coming to the facts of the case on hand, the role played by each of the accused in commission of the offence is mentioned in the remand report.”

While elaborating in detail, the Bench then reveals in para 18 that, “Accused Nos.2 and 3 are parents of the de facto complainant. Accused No.1 is maternal uncle of the de facto complainant. She fell in love with Chintha Yoga Hemanth (deceased) belongs to Vysya Community and decided to marry him. Since her parents did not agree for the same, she left her parents house and married him on 10.06.2020 against the wishes of her parents. She lived with the deceased at TNGOs Colony, Gachibowli. Her parents and relatives felt insult in the society. Though her parents and relatives tried to convince the de facto complainant to leave the company of her husband, she did not accept for the same.”

Going ahead, the Bench then states in para 19 that, “As stated above, on 10.06.2020, the de facto complainant left her parents house without informing anybody, married the deceased. Since then, the parents of the de facto complainant were suffering with tears daily as they felt insult in the society. They have shared the said feelings with accused No.1, brother-in-law of accused No.2 and brother of accused No.3. Accused No.1 and close relatives of accused Nos.2 and 3, have also suffered a lot by feeling insult in the society. They have tried to convince the de facto complainant, but she did not heed to the said request. Therefore, they have decided to do away the life of the deceased to separate the de facto complainant from the deceased.”

Moving on, the Bench then adds in para 20 that, “The accused Nos.1 to 3, maternal uncle and parents of the de facto complainant respectively, hatched a plan to kill the deceased. Accordingly, accused No.1 started searching the persons who can help him in killing the deceased. He has approached accused Nos.5 to 6 and asked them to help for which they have demanded money, and the same was informed to accused No.2 by accused No.1, who in turn promised to pay an amount of Rs.10.00 lakhs. Accordingly, accused No.2 has paid an amount of Rs.1.00 lakh to accused No.1 towards advance with a request to kill the deceased. They have collected information from the de facto complainant by taking her into confidence and the address of the deceased who was staying at TNGOs Colony, Gachibowli, separately. Thereafter, accused No.8, brother of accused No.1 got the address of the deceased.”

What’s more, it is then brought out in para 21 that, “As per the remand report, dated 05.10.2020, it is further alleged that on 24.09.2020 afternoon at about 14:30 hours, accused No.1 along with accused Nos.5 to 7 left in Swift Car bearing No.TS 08ET 3031, in i-20 Car No.TS 07EV 1449, accused No.17 driver of accused No.2, and accused Nos.9 and in Brezza Car bearing No.TS 15EX 9781, accused Nos.12 to 16 and accused Nos.2 and 10 on bike reached the house of the de facto complainant at TNGO’s Colony, Gachibowli. They have trespassed into the house of the de facto complainant, they all beat the de facto complainant and the deceased with hands and forcibly took them into the car of accused No.10 stating that they want to discuss the matter at Lingampally. On the way at Gopanpally Cross road, they turned the Car towards ORR. Thus, the de facto complainant and her husband got suspicion on them and jumped from the car and tried to escape. Then, accused Nos.1, 5, 6 and 7 chased the deceased and caught hold him. They forcibly dragged him into the car of accused No.1. On the way, accused No.1 dropped accused No.7 near his house at Vattinagulapally.”

Not stopping here, it is then stated in para 22 that, “Later accused No.1 along with accused No.5 and 6 took the deceased in his car through ORR. They got down ORR near Patancheru and went to Zaheerabad. During the said period also, accused No.1 has advised the deceased to leave LW.1 for which the deceased refused. Immediately, accused No.1 has purchased jute rope in a shop at Zaheerabad and also purchased liquor in a Wine Shop. They have started to Patancheru side. In the meanwhile, accused Nos.5 and 6 tied the hands and legs of the deceased with the said jute rope. After they reached the outskirts of Kistaiahgudem village of Kondapur Mandal, accused No.1 stopped the car in the layout situated by the side of the Road. Accused Nos.1, 5 and 6 brought the deceased out from the car. Accused No.6 closed the nose and mouth of the deceased with cloth. Accused Nos.1 and 5 made the jute rope three rows and tied the same around the neck of the deceased and killed him by strangulation on the same day i.e. 24.09.2020 at 19:30 hours. Then, accused Nos.1, 5 and 6 threw the dead body in the nearby bushes. Accused No.5 took the gold kadiam, gold chain of the deceased and kept with him. Accused No.1 took i-phone of the deceased and kept with him. Later accused No.1 kept the remaining jute rope in his car dickey and removed the SIM card from i-phone of the deceased and made it into pieces and threw on the way. Thereafter, accused Nos.1, 5 and 6 went to Patancheru in the car of accused No.1. Accused No.1 called his friends, i.e., accused Nos.19 and 20 near to Yellamma temple, Patancheru and informed them about the murder of the deceased. Later, accused Nos.1, 6 and 19 consumed alcohol by which time accused No.20 dropped accused No.5 at Kollur Cross-road. After consuming alcohol, accused No.1 dialled to accused No.18, son of his relative Mr. Madhava Reddy and informed him about killing of the deceased. Accused No.1 further informed accused No.18 that he and accused No.6 are coming to him for dinner. Then, accused Nos.1 and 6 went to Ravalkole of Medchal through ORR in the car of accused No.1. In the early hours of 25.09.2020 at about 2:00 hours, accused Nso.1, 6 and 18 were caught hold by Gachibowli Police. Thus, it is alleged against the accused that accused No.1 in active connivance with other accused, trespassed into the house of the deceased, kidnapped and killed him in the manner stated above.”

It is a no-brainer that the Bench then holds in para 53 that, “In view of the above said legal position, as discussed supra, there is prima facie and reasonable grounds to believe that the petitioners have committed offence. Prima facie, there are specific allegations against each of the petitioners and the role played by them in commission of offence is also specifically mentioned. The modes operandi adopted by the petitioners and other accused in the crime would also prima facie disclose that they have committed the offences to do away the life of the deceased to separate the de facto complainant from him. Considering the said aspects and in view of the fact that the investigation is still pending, this Court is not inclined to grant regular bail to the petitioners herein.” Para 54 then states that, “Accordingly, all the Criminal Petitions are dismissed.”

Finally, while deprecating the role of the police in investigation, the Bench then holds in para 55 that, “However, it is relevant to point out that the role played by the police in the entire episode is not satisfactory. The parents of the deceased have met the Commissioner of Police, Cyberabad Commissionerate, who in turn advised them to approach the Police Station, Chandanagar. Accordingly, they went to the Chandanagar Police Station and lodged a complaint on 17.06.2020 with Chandanagar Police Station complaining that they have life threat from the parents and relatives of the de facto complainant. On 10.06.2020 the father of the deceased received a phone call from Chandanagar Police Station and accordingly he went to the Chandanagar Police Station and met the police officials there. Some of the accused including the petitioners herein were present at the police station Chandanagar, both on 10.06.2020 and 17.06.2020. Even on 24.09.2020 at about 2.00 p.m., parents of the deceased dialed 100. Even in the statements recorded by the police under Section 161 of Cr.P.C. of the parents of the deceased would reveal that on 24.09.2020, the petitioners and other accused dragged the deceased forcibly into car, took him towards ORR, the petitioners herein threatened the de facto complainant to come to their house and tried to get her into the car forcibly, the parents of the deceased made hues and cries, police came there and advised them to go to Gachibowli Police Station and lodge a complaint. Thereafter, the parents of the deceased and the de facto complainant went to the Commissioner of Police Office in an auto-rickshaw who in turn advised them to go to the Gachibowli Police Station. Therefore, they went to the Gachibowli Police Station between 5.30 p.m. to 6.00 p.m. and lodged a complaint complaining about the kidnapping the deceased. Thus, the police came to know about the inter-caste marriage of the de facto complainant with deceased on 10.06.2020 and also on 17.06.2020. The said facts were mentioned in the statements of both LWs.2 and 3 recorded by the police under Section – 161 of Cr.P.C. Despite lodging complaint by the parents of the deceased complaining that they have  life threat from the parents and relatives of the de facto complainant, the police have not taken any preventive measures to prevent the incident. It appears that the police have not taken any steps in accordance with law on the complaint lodged by the parents of the deceased. Thus, the police have utterly failed in preventing the incident. The said action of the police is contrary to the guidelines issued by the Apex Court in the judgments cited supra. Hope the police will take appropriate measures in preventing such incidents in future. As a sequel, miscellaneous petitions, if any, pending in the Criminal Petitions shall stand closed.”

No doubt, the Telanagana High Court has elegantly, effectively and eloquently voiced its deepest concern that the people of India are still victim of abhorrent social evils like casteism. It has also viewed honour killing cases as most seriously and has very rightly denied bail to accused in an honour killing case. Certainly, such reprehensible killings of one’s own near and dear ones just for marrying someone from outside their caste is most reprehensible and has to be most strictly punished to send the firm and final message to one and all that there will be no leniency under any circumstances in such cases! Police also must pay heed to what has been said in para 55 and mend its ways from now onwards! Let’s hope so fervently! Centre must also implement police reforms as directed in the Prakash Singh case by the Supreme Court in 2006! The earlier it does, the better it shall be and so also the States must act promptly in this direction also!

Sanjeev Sirohi

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *

Cookies help us deliver our services. By using our services, you agree to our use of cookies. More Information   
%d bloggers like this: