The Supreme Court of India
The Supreme Court of India

Supreme Court directs prompt action to curb honour killings

United News of India

New Delhi, April 19, 2011

Acting tough against honour killings and caste atrocities, the Supreme Court today issued a slew of directions for district-level civil and police officers to curb the twin menace.

A bench of Justices Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Misra directed that district officers, including the civil and police chief, shall be suspended and criminal case registered against them if they failed to take prompt action against those involved in honour killings or caste atrocities.

The bench issued directions while dismissing appeals of Arumugam Servai, Ajit Kumar and others who were found guilty of committing atrocities on the members of Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes and killing one Dalit following an altercation during celebrations of Jallikattu(bull fight)in Madurai district of Tamil Nadu a few years ago.

"The appellants in the present case have behaved liked uncivilised savages, and hence deserve no mercy. With these observations the appeals are dismissed," said Justice Katju who wrote a 10-page judgement for the bench.

The judges directed administrative and police officials to take strong measures to prevent such atrocious acts.

Directing criminal proceedings against those responsible for such atrocities, the bench ordered state governments to suspend district officers, including civil and police chief, and charge sheet them if they did not prevent such incidents from happening despite having advance information and if such officers did not promptly apprehend those involved and institute criminal proceedings against them.

The judges ordered the court registry to send copy of their judgement to all Chief Secretaries, Home Secretaries and Directors General of Police(DGP) in all states and Union Territories with the directions to circulate it to all officers up to the level of district magistrate and SSP/ SP for strict compliance.

"Copy will also be sent to the registrar general/registrar of all the High Courts who will circulate to all honourable Judges of the court," the order said.

The apex court emphasised the need of stamping out the evil of honour killing which are often decreed or encouraged by the Khap Panchayat.

The court directed that boys and girls marrying into different caste and religion must be protected. It said such acts of barbarism and feudal mentality approved by Khap Panchayat must be dealt with ruthlessly. It said no honour is involved in such killings as these are barbaric and shameful murder of innocent young people by the brutal and feudal minded people and such acts amount to Kangaroo courts which are wholly illegal.

Also deprecating the practice of serving upper caste and lower caste in different tumbler in the tea shop and restaurant in Tamil Nadu, the Court ruled that all administrative and police officers will be held accountable and departmentally proceeded against if despite having knowledge of any such practice in the area under their jurisdiction, they do not launch criminal proceedings against culprits who deserve harsh punishment if found guilty.